top of page
Toronto- Project strip 2.jpg

LANEWAY OF LIVING: Green Villages in the Heart of Toronto’s Urban Fabric
3rd prize winner in the international competition Toronto Affordable Housing Challenge (2021)
(Authors: Ana Rolim, Isabella Trindade, Beatriz Bueno and Larissa Falavigna)

Navigating Toronto's housing crisis while respecting its urban fabric and historical legacy requires innovative solutions. Our approach? Think big by starting small.

Enter laneways, an overlooked urban typology from the 1870s offering a hidden opportunity. With 2,433 laneways stretching over 310 km, we see potential to tackle housing needs while minimizing urban sprawl and enhancing sustainability.

Our vision? Introducing "laneway suites" – compact housing units nestled within existing residential lots, detached from main houses and accessible from both side yards and laneways. Our testing ground? Little Italy, a bustling district with high population density ripe for gradual growth. Here, we reimagine laneways as vibrant communal spaces, shedding their historical stigma to become thriving village hubs.

The base housing unit, spanning 58m2 over two stories, is designed for adaptability. With lateral and vertical extensions, families can customize their living space to suit changing needs.  Incremental housing is key. Units can expand laterally or vertically, catering to diverse family structures and evolving requirements.

Connectivity between private and public realms is paramount. Our four-level relationship fosters interaction, from domestic interiors to laneway-turned-shared streets.But it's not just about housing – it's about greening Toronto. Rooftop gardens and front setbacks create urban farms, improving air quality and reducing temperatures while promoting sustainability.

Sustainable housing is at the core of our design. From cross-laminated timber structures to charred wood exteriors, we prioritize eco-friendly materials and passive design strategies. Triple-glazed windows, photovoltaic panels, and rainwater harvesting ensure self-sufficiency while reducing environmental impact.

This project has been widely published including: Bee Breeders , Archdaily , Projeto Magazine and Archello

Aerial view of proposal

Map of laneways in the city of Toronto

Detail of aerial view of proposal

Ground floor plan

The proposal dwellings are actively integrated to the public space of the laneway

Incremental Housing Concept

Unit type 1: floor plans and section

Unit type 1 with increments: floor plans and section

Unit type 2 with increments: floor plans and sections

The housing unit and its parts

Sustainability diagram


The new vibrant real of the laneway

Laneway elevation

Connected rooftops

Shared vegetable gardens on the roofotp

Competition board: 3rd prize winner of the international Toronto Affordable Housing Challenge

bottom of page