housing toronto

This could be Toronto's home of the future

The City of Toronto's population has been exploding in recent years, ushering in an exciting, yet challenging period of growth for industries across the board.

With the number of people living downtown expected to more than double by 2041, the housing industry has been particularly busy — both when it comes to building homes (hello cranes) and in figuring out how to build as many residences as the city will need in the years ahead.

The Toronto-based architecture firm Batay-Csorba Architects (BCA) — famous for its award-winning Double Duplex project, among other works — might have a solution.

BCA recently designed architectural plans for The Globe and Mail in response to an article about how planning regulations in Toronto are limiting the amount of new housing units than can be built.

multifamily housing toronto

Batay-Csorba Architects focused on wasting less space and light than traditional homes in a series of conceptual multifamily housing units.  Batay-Csorba Architects/The Globe and Mail

As architecture critic Alex Bozikovic explains, city planners and councillors are often opposed to the construction of low-rise apartment buildings in existing residential areas, despite the fact that this would be the most efficient way to solve our housing problem.

"So I asked BCA to try something that might be more palatable," wrote Bozikovic on Monday. 

"We chose at random a site near Bloor and Christie Streets that’s currently occupied by two semi-detached houses. The challenge: to add more good-quality housing units here, while roughly maintaining the visual rhythm and scale of the street."

toronto multifamily housing

As many as five families could comfortably live in the space formerly occupied by two single-family townhouses in BCA's concept plan. Batay-Csorba Architects/The Globe and Mail

What they came up with is a large brick building with space for five families — a structure that would replace the two single-family townhouses on that lot.

Architects say they thought beyond the "long and narrow lots" Toronto is so familiar with when coming up with their concept, putting the units "back-to-back, instead of side-to-side."

Each of the proposed homes would be about 2,500 square feet with separate entrances (one in front of the site, one beside it and one in the back) and their own "screened-in courtyard" porches.

You can see all the renderings here and learn about why multifamily housing is worthy of further exploration — whether city planners and longtime neighbourhood residents like it or not.

Lead photo by

Batay-Csorba Architects/Norm Li/The Globe and Mail

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Real Estate

Toronto house built in 1835 is now on sale for $5 million

Restored farmhouse for sale north of Toronto has backyard barn and basement wine cellar

This was the most expensive home sold in Toronto last year

Province promises to delay destruction of Dominion Foundry buildings in Toronto

This house in downtown Toronto is selling for only $700K but there's a catch

This was the cheapest house sold in Toronto in 2020

People in Toronto are debating what the city's ugliest building is

Here are the Toronto neighbourhoods that had the most condos for sale last year