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Module Towers

A student residence that listens and responds
Academic Project (Residential)
Toronto, ON
rhino 7
April 2021

What if a building could listen to its inhabitants, as well as its surrounding urban context? What if there was a shortage of hospital beds, a housing crisis, or a demand for more office space? Could modular construction and building adaptability be the answer to these questions?

This project is a high-rise student residence capable of housing 350+ occupants. Supported by a robust spaceframe superstructure, modular living and amenity units of varying scales and programs can be installed, demounted, or reconfigured to suit any condition imaginable. Student life, especially within an urban context is dynamic; as such, so should the architecture that facilitates this.


ARC362: Architecture Studio IV

This undergraduate design studio course focused on the conceptualization of student housing solutions via the exploration of space, building typology, tectonics, and spatial organization within an urban context.


Deriving the building's form was largely an investigation of site strategy and preservation of the existing heritage building. By opening up the ground floor to both Spadina & Sussex, the building's connection to the University of Toronto campus was made clear. The footprint was then extruded in a manner to reduce the shadow footprint to neighbouring buildings. The freedom and modularity so inherent to this project means that the tectonics of the facade are defined by the demand engendered from residents and their surrounding dynamic urban conditions.

Concept Development Diagrams
Vertical Circulation Logic

The choice to implement a skip-stop vertical circulation strategy was to blur the hard division of floors that are found in more traditional residential towers. As a result, students are better able to socialize with others who may perhaps not live on the same floor as them, and create friendships that are not associated with floor number; a common theme that is perpetuated in student residences.


As shown below, each floor can clearly be separated into three areas, a central circulation corridor/shared study space, and the two towers that serve to house the modules themselves (almost as a shelf). There was a strong gesture to remove the feeling of walking in hallways. This was done by opening up every other floor to the one below. Students have the freedom of choice to do all their activities (whether its studying, eating, or relaxing) with friends, or more independently.

Ground Floor Plan
Lobby Mezzanine Plan
Lower Principle Plan
Upper Principle Plan


When looking strictly at the building's facades, as it stands tall within its surrounding urban context, it is important to note that its appearance is reflective of both student life and urban conditions. The building's modular construction strategy means that it can be as tall (or short) and diverse (or monotonous) as it needs to be.

North & East Elevations
South & West Elevations

Section Perspectives

Building assembly and circulation is made clear within the following section perspective drawings. Great focus was put into designing the buildings spaceframe superstructure, as that was enabled the mounting and demounting of modules.

Looking West (A-A)
Looking East (B-B)

Despite the skip-stop stair configuration, each lower floor level was attached directly to the elevator floor in consideration for students requiring accessibility needs. The consideration to the lower floor as the communal floor presents equitable opportunities for social interaction.

Additional Drawings

Southeast Isometric
Domestic & Amenity Configurations
Amenity Modules
Domestic Modules
Solo Domestic Module Axonometric