OAC Toronto envisions a future in which all community members can collaborate in building an inclusive, sustainable and socially responsible city.

Our Mission
We connect socially-minded designers and architects with members of under-served communities. We listen to, advocate for, educate, learn and design with these communities to realize positive changes in the built spaces of their neighbourhoods.


The Toronto chapter has been providing the City of Toronto communities with socially responsible design services for over a decade and was incorporated as not-for-profit corporation, November 2017. We serve marginalized and underserved communities with local architects and designers in order to provide quality design solutions to those in need. Open Architecture Toronto believes good design can positively influence our wellbeing and that it should be available to all. Our aim is to educate designers and leaders to advocate for people centred designs. Designs that heals individuals, heals our communities; and becomes livable, sustainable, and healthy cities.

"OAC bridges design and humanitarianism together, creating a unique experience to collaborate with creative types and work on important community projects. My involvement with this team offered me the unique opportunity to work on a very meaningful international project and exposed me to new design approaches through discussion with the multi-disciplinary team. I am so glad to have been part of this positive organization." Volunteer - Andrew Taylor

  • Founded in 2003
  • 20+ active volunteers
  • 3 ongoing projects

Laneway Housing Event

Toronto is facing a housing shortage and things are expecting to get worse in the next few years. Our guest speakers from Lanescape, discussed in depth their implementation study of laneway suites and the benefits to help solve Toronto shortage and affordability housing crisis. The report address the current planning process, laneways precedents from other jurisdictions and provided a set of performance guidelines for laneway suite development. Such form of housing that is gaining popularity in Vancouver is typically built into pre-existing lots, usually in the backyard and opening onto the back lane. Our aim for this event is to educate the public on the initiative that being presented in City Hall to solve Toronto housing crisis.

  • Laneway Suite Report click here
  • The GTA grows at a rate of almost 100,000 residents per year
  • Toronto has has an estimate 2,400 laneways

Little Free Library


The Toronto chapter branches out to neighbouring Buffalo city to propose a Little Free Library design concepts to Buffalo Architecture Foundation that focus on low income community needs. It is estimated that there is only 1 book for every 300 children in low income neighborhoods and up to 61% of these families do not have any books for their kids at home. The Little Free Library movement promotes literacy and education among children and their families.

OAC Toronto design proposal for the Little Free Library was inspired by the treasure hunt game. The library not only promotes literacy adventure among children, but also reconnect Buffalo citizens with their city, its cultural landmarks, and neighborhoods.  Ten library were designed with the intention of each being placed adjacent to city’s tourist attractions and districts.  

Education and literacy are priority, and we are looking for practical, economical and sustainable solutions to bring more literature into families.

  • 5 Volunteers
  • 10 Notable Directs and Landmarks prototypes
  • Honorable Mention

Volunteer Day


On May 27 2017, Open Architecture Toronto participated in one of Habitat for Humanity's Adapt-A-Day program at the Pinery Trail site. The team learned how to insulate with fiberglass and vapor barrier and participated in quality control. It was a great experience and we look forward to adapt another day!  “It was great to see the project finishing up with a community launch. Being a part of something that has a positive impact on our local communities is one of our missions, so we are grateful to have been able to participate in the Adopt-a-day program.” Christine Lieu - Education & Event Manage

  • 3 years, 50 home project
  • 15 families in the first phase completed
  • 48 volunteer hours contributed