Photo: Homegrown Design Challenge

Toronto may soon be home to a chain of DIY backyard bee hotels and a natural forest in a downtown alleyway. Those were the winning designs selected in the first Homegrown Design Challenge, launched this spring by Workshop Architecture and the David Suzuki Foundation.

Sign up for our newsletter

The Homegrown Design Challenge invited prominent architects and landscape architects — and members of the public in an open call — to submit ideas for low-cost, easy-to-implement green design solutions for yards, alleys, commercial properties and schoolyards.

The jurors selected two winning submissions. "DIY backyard bee hotels" by Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building, and "Carolinian Way," a naturalized, forested alley by landscape architect Tawab Hlimi, shared the $500 in prizes.

Design ideas included proposals to adapt laneways and parking lots to more effectively absorb and filter stormwater; transform schoolyards to create outdoor learning environments that are more natural and ecologically diverse; foster greater diversity in front yards to support pollinators like bees and butterflies; and create raised structures that playfully connect residents with lost rivers beneath the city.

The two winning designs and eight invited submissions will be shown at the Project Wild Thing event at Fort York​ on July 9, and will be exhibited at Urbanspace Gallery from July 10 to August 10.

We hope these design ideas will inspire homeowners and property managers to reimagine what's possible for their balconies, yards and neighbourhoods.

In the meantime, we are working on pursuing permissions and funding to realize a few of the ideas you see in this exhibition as demonstration projects within the Homegrown National Park.

Proposals by invited designers in the Urbanspace Gallery exhibition:

· "TIC TAC FLO" by archiTEXT
· "Pedestrian Filter" by Workshop Architecture
· "rePlay" by Elise Shelley Landscape Architect
· "The People's Hive" by LGA Architectural Partners
· "Bio-Flume" by North Design Office
· "Public Laneway Puncture" Victoria Taylor Landscape Architect
· "Local Monsters" by Brown and Storey Architects
· "Incisions and Incubators" by Shift Landscape Architecture

Winners of the 2014 Homegrown Design Challenge:

· "DIY backyard bee hotels" by Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building.
· "Carolinian Way" by landscape architect Tawab Hlimi.

Homegrown Design Challenge Jurors

Victoria Taylor, Landscape Architect, Victoria Taylor Landscape Architect
Peter North, Landscape Architect, North Design Office
Stuart McPherson, Project Manager, Urban Ecology, Evergreen Brick Works
Alex Bozikovic, Architecture Critic, Globe and Mail
Faisal Moola, Director General, Ontario and the North, David Suzuki Foundation
Helena Grdadolnik, Associate Director, Workshop Architecture​












For further info and interviews contact:
Helena Grdadolnik, Workshop Architecture

July 9, 2014

Post a comment

The David Suzuki Foundation does not necessarily endorse the comments or views posted within this forum. All contributors acknowledge DSF's right to remove product/service endorsements and refuse publication of comments deemed to be offensive or that contravene our operating principles as a charitable organization. Please note that all comments are pre-moderated. Privacy Policy »