Kehilla Residential Programme Reveals Moving Modular Forward Winners

Kehilla Residential Programme has announced the four winners of the Moving Modular Forward architectural competition for modular, portable and affordable housing design ideas.

On the evening of November 21st, 2019, the top four modular housing schemes iin the competition were presented to an audience of over 150 architects, developers and housing industry professionals at the University of Toronto’s Myhal Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

First prize went to Local Impact Design, headed up by Rob Blakeney, the second prize went to Works Office/Brian O’Brian, third prize was awarded to Quadrangle Architects , and fourth place was awarded to LGA Architectural Partners and Wonder Inc.

The teams’ designs responded to the criteria of affordability, sustainability and portability. The four member jury included: architect Dermot Sweeny of Sweeny&Co Architects; former City of Toronto Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat from The Keesmaat Group, Xavier Toby, director of prefabrication and modular at EllisDon; and Leona Savoie, senior vice-president  of Hullmark Developments.

Local Impact Design and TALO Architect

The winning proposal by Local Impact Design and TALO Architect consisted of flat-pack modular buildings using pre-fabricated mass-timber floors and walls, machined to accept bolted connectors. This technology enables easy disassembly and transport to a new site, creating a portable building.

The team’s proposal combined a portable ballast-foundation, storm water management, and septic system, which uses the humble precast concrete highway divider as a prime component. No excavations for foundations are required and all components can be redeployed.

Works Office / Brian O’Brian Architect

WORKS OFFICE / Brian O’Brian Architect is interested in the pursuit of architecture that contributes to increasing the appreciation for the influence of buildings on daily life. Their project claimed the second place in the competition.



Quadrangle’s vision was to design modular housing that is affordable, durable, sustainable, and capable of integrating multi-generational living while taking advantage of the more than 1,900 tower-in-the-park buildings in Toronto.

Quadrangle’s proposal reimagines how we view affordable housing while improving the environment and lives of existing residents and shifting the conversation from “this is all I can afford” to “these are my options”.

Using the modular housing concept as a catalyst for increased density, a phased approach allows for strategic intensification while renewing the existing fabric of the city and without resulting in “renovictions.” Designing for durability and adaptability, locally sourced timber sequesters carbon, resulting in a low net embodied carbon load while Passive House principles reduce CO2 emissions.

Keeping the community and residents in mind, Quadrangle placed a focal point on creating community driven social spaces, encouraging interaction and activity among residents while also tailoring units that respond to residents’ diverse needs of intimacy, privacy and accessibility at various stages of life.

LGA Architectural Partners + Wonder Inc.

LGA Architectural Partners and Wonder Inc.’s proposal suggests using the large reservoir of empty or underutilized sites that are found in high demand locations around the city for temporary housing. These sites may sit empty for up to five years while approvals get processed. This approach to temporary housing is supported by the unprecedented volume of development happening in Toronto.