Ryerson DAS collaborative looks to tackle student housing crisis

DWELL, Ryerson DASThis week, Ryerson’s Department of Architectural Science (DAS), will host their annual collaborative exercise, involving all 450 DAS students from all four years of study. This year’s edition, CEx18 DWELL, will see students embarking on a four day design competition investigating and proposing ways to increase the housing capacity for students.

CEx18 DWELL will feature 30 teams of 15 mixed-year students, working on 15 sites around downtown Toronto. Sites were chosen for their potential impact on the campus and because they are either empty, underdeveloped, have poor existing architecture or an outdated use. The teams will create models of proposed new housing on a massive 1:150 model of Ryerson campus (10’x11’), to be displayed at the Architecture Building until January 23.

They hope to develop creative and tangible solutions to Toronto’s student housing crisis, while complementing the work of StudentDwellTO, an existing four-university-wide research project on the issue. Jointly led by, Ryerson University, University of Toronto, OCAD University and York University, the StudentDwellTO initiative brings together nearly 100 faculty and students from the four universities to take an in-depth look at student housing in the GTA.

CEx18 DWELL kicks off. Photo via Ryerson DAS
CEx18 DWELL kicks off. Photo via Ryerson DAS

The two-year initiative will have heavy research and advocacy components, and the researchers will collect data using a variety of research methods. Both CEx18 DWELL and StudentDwellTO follow a previous collaboration between the four universities: a massive survey of student travel behaviour, called StudentMoveTO, which revealed that long daily commutes for students – many of whom live far away where housing is more affordable – were leading to lower campus engagement and in some cases limiting students’ class choices.

Kicking off today, the week-long CEx18 DWELL will run until Friday, January 12. A design charrette will take shape from Monday to Wednesday, while the event’s final two days will be devoted to production, exhibition, and finally an awards ceremony. CEx18 DWELL will be held in Ryerson’s Architecture Building, at 325 Church Street in downtown Toronto.