Backyard Homes Design Competition

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Congratulations to the winners and honorable mentions! The winning backyard home designs were: 

Thank you to everyone who entered the Backyard Homes Design Competition.  


Imagine you’re the designer and builder of a Backyard Home. Who would you want to build that home for? How would you make sure the person living there is cozy and happy?

Create a custom backyard home for someone living in Kitchener and enter for a chance to win prize money while you do it!

The Backyard Home Design Competition asks you to design a backyard home in Kitchener and tell us the story of who lives there.

Participants will choose one of four categories to participate in. A panel of judges will grade the submissions based on what’s required and if the design meets the needs of the homeowner.

Let’s get started!

Who can enter the competition?

Anyone who lives, works, or recreates in Kitchener is welcome to enter. There are four categories and the rules are different for each one:

Professional category: Open to design professionals, including architects, urban designers, planners, architectural technologists, landscape architects and others.

Post-secondary student category: Open to students currently enrolled in any year of a planning, architecture, urban design, engineering or similar post-secondary program

Adult category: Open to anyone 18 years of age or older. Families, pairs and small groups are also welcome to apply under this category.

Youth category: Open to anyone under the age of 18.

If you are a design professional or a post-secondary student studying design, take a look at the Call for Submissions. In those categories we're looking for professional-level entries and we're asking for a lot of technical detail.

For everyone else, read on for everything you need to know to enter the competition!

The deadline for all submissions is August 20th, 2021.

What can I win?

Each category has prize money available for the winner, as well as up to five honourable mentions.

Professional: Winner’s Prize, $2,500. Honourable Mentions, $250

Post-Secondary Student: Winner’s Prize, $2,000. Honourable Mentions, $200

Adult/Group: Winner’s Prize, $1,000. Honourable Mentions, $100

Youth: Winner’s Prize, $500. Honourable Mentions, $50

Winners and honourable mentions will be featured in a free publication, produced by the City of Kitchener.

Okay, what’s a backyard home?

A Backyard Home is a small home in the backyard of an existing residential property (single-detached or duplex). There are different kinds of backyard homes such as a backyard bunkie, cottage home, tiny home or granny flat.

They’re more affordable than a typical home and provide residents with more flexibility to meet their living needs.


A Backyard Home in Kitchener. Owner: KW Habilitation. Designed by: Edge Architects

Show us your Backyard Home idea

Design a Backyard Home in Kitchener and tell us who the home is for. It could be for a college graduate looking for their first home, a grandparent who’s looking to downsize, or maybe it could be for you! The story could be made up or real based on someone you know.

Submit at least one visual (a sketch, a plan, a collage, a model—be creative!) and written submission telling us your story. 200 words maximum. If you’re having trouble getting started, feel free to use our Workbook as a guide (available here digitally).

Submissions can be a video, a picture, a PDF… pretty much any file that lets you tell us your story! Regrettably, we cannot accept .avi files at this time.

Be sure to include your name, phone number and email address in the written submission so we can notify you if you’ve won!

What happens after I submit?

After you submit your Backyard Home design, City staff will collect it and anonymize it so that the jury will not see any personal information as they award winners in each category.

After the August 20th deadline, the jury will receive all submissions and award a winner and up to 5 honourable mentions in each category.

Winners and honourable mentions will receive prize money, and their Backyard Home will be featured in a publication, created by the City of Kitchener, that will be freely available to all who are interested in building a Backyard Home!

Note: If awarded, your name will be published alongside your written submission and visual materials. Other personal contact information will not be included.

Submission example

Tell us your story any way you like! It could be with popsicle sticks, Lego, paper maché, clay, a drawing, a floor layout… the options are endless!

The written submission should explain how your backyard home meets the needs of the person(s) living in it. Try to limit yourself to 200 words or fewer while providing enough detail explaining how your design creates the perfect home for the occupant.

Happy designing!


Below is an example of what your submission could look like.

(WRITTEN EXAMPLE) Emily is a recent graduate in Visual Arts. She uses a wheelchair to get around, so it’s important that her Backyard Home is barrier free and close to transit. Emily loves nature, and her work is inspired by it, so her home is designed to be surrounded by green space. The large wrap around patio provides an accessible outdoor space for Emily to enjoy, while also connecting her to both the driveway and the lane that abuts the back of the property. One of the challenges in this design was making sure the spaces could meet Emily’s mobility needs in such a small space.


(VISUAL EXAMPLE)

What your home needs to have

These are the must-haves for your Backyard Home design:

  • A kitchen
  • A bathroom
  • Windows for, at minimum, all bedrooms and living spaces (kitchens, bathrooms and closets do not require windows, but can definitely have them!)
  • Less than half the size of the main home on the property (these aren’t mansions!)
  • Parking space if the resident needs it

Scoring points with the judges

Judges are looking for a combination of creativity and detail. They want to see how your backyard home design meets the needs of the person(s) living inside of it. Explain in the written submission who will be living in the backyard home and what challenges they may have, and then have fun with the visual submission showing how you’ll make sure they are as happy as possible.

How to enter the competition

Use the entry form below, choose your category, and send us your backyard home design!

For full contest details, visit www.kitchener.ca/Contests

Have a question?

Submit your question using the Q&A below. Questions and answers will be posted regularly throughout the competition, so check back regularly!


Imagine you’re the designer and builder of a Backyard Home. Who would you want to build that home for? How would you make sure the person living there is cozy and happy?

Create a custom backyard home for someone living in Kitchener and enter for a chance to win prize money while you do it!

The Backyard Home Design Competition asks you to design a backyard home in Kitchener and tell us the story of who lives there.

Participants will choose one of four categories to participate in. A panel of judges will grade the submissions based on what’s required and if the design meets the needs of the homeowner.

Let’s get started!

Who can enter the competition?

Anyone who lives, works, or recreates in Kitchener is welcome to enter. There are four categories and the rules are different for each one:

Professional category: Open to design professionals, including architects, urban designers, planners, architectural technologists, landscape architects and others.

Post-secondary student category: Open to students currently enrolled in any year of a planning, architecture, urban design, engineering or similar post-secondary program

Adult category: Open to anyone 18 years of age or older. Families, pairs and small groups are also welcome to apply under this category.

Youth category: Open to anyone under the age of 18.

If you are a design professional or a post-secondary student studying design, take a look at the Call for Submissions. In those categories we're looking for professional-level entries and we're asking for a lot of technical detail.

For everyone else, read on for everything you need to know to enter the competition!

The deadline for all submissions is August 20th, 2021.

What can I win?

Each category has prize money available for the winner, as well as up to five honourable mentions.

Professional: Winner’s Prize, $2,500. Honourable Mentions, $250

Post-Secondary Student: Winner’s Prize, $2,000. Honourable Mentions, $200

Adult/Group: Winner’s Prize, $1,000. Honourable Mentions, $100

Youth: Winner’s Prize, $500. Honourable Mentions, $50

Winners and honourable mentions will be featured in a free publication, produced by the City of Kitchener.

Okay, what’s a backyard home?

A Backyard Home is a small home in the backyard of an existing residential property (single-detached or duplex). There are different kinds of backyard homes such as a backyard bunkie, cottage home, tiny home or granny flat.

They’re more affordable than a typical home and provide residents with more flexibility to meet their living needs.


A Backyard Home in Kitchener. Owner: KW Habilitation. Designed by: Edge Architects

Show us your Backyard Home idea

Design a Backyard Home in Kitchener and tell us who the home is for. It could be for a college graduate looking for their first home, a grandparent who’s looking to downsize, or maybe it could be for you! The story could be made up or real based on someone you know.

Submit at least one visual (a sketch, a plan, a collage, a model—be creative!) and written submission telling us your story. 200 words maximum. If you’re having trouble getting started, feel free to use our Workbook as a guide (available here digitally).

Submissions can be a video, a picture, a PDF… pretty much any file that lets you tell us your story! Regrettably, we cannot accept .avi files at this time.

Be sure to include your name, phone number and email address in the written submission so we can notify you if you’ve won!

What happens after I submit?

After you submit your Backyard Home design, City staff will collect it and anonymize it so that the jury will not see any personal information as they award winners in each category.

After the August 20th deadline, the jury will receive all submissions and award a winner and up to 5 honourable mentions in each category.

Winners and honourable mentions will receive prize money, and their Backyard Home will be featured in a publication, created by the City of Kitchener, that will be freely available to all who are interested in building a Backyard Home!

Note: If awarded, your name will be published alongside your written submission and visual materials. Other personal contact information will not be included.

Submission example

Tell us your story any way you like! It could be with popsicle sticks, Lego, paper maché, clay, a drawing, a floor layout… the options are endless!

The written submission should explain how your backyard home meets the needs of the person(s) living in it. Try to limit yourself to 200 words or fewer while providing enough detail explaining how your design creates the perfect home for the occupant.

Happy designing!


Below is an example of what your submission could look like.

(WRITTEN EXAMPLE) Emily is a recent graduate in Visual Arts. She uses a wheelchair to get around, so it’s important that her Backyard Home is barrier free and close to transit. Emily loves nature, and her work is inspired by it, so her home is designed to be surrounded by green space. The large wrap around patio provides an accessible outdoor space for Emily to enjoy, while also connecting her to both the driveway and the lane that abuts the back of the property. One of the challenges in this design was making sure the spaces could meet Emily’s mobility needs in such a small space.


(VISUAL EXAMPLE)

What your home needs to have

These are the must-haves for your Backyard Home design:

  • A kitchen
  • A bathroom
  • Windows for, at minimum, all bedrooms and living spaces (kitchens, bathrooms and closets do not require windows, but can definitely have them!)
  • Less than half the size of the main home on the property (these aren’t mansions!)
  • Parking space if the resident needs it

Scoring points with the judges

Judges are looking for a combination of creativity and detail. They want to see how your backyard home design meets the needs of the person(s) living inside of it. Explain in the written submission who will be living in the backyard home and what challenges they may have, and then have fun with the visual submission showing how you’ll make sure they are as happy as possible.

How to enter the competition

Use the entry form below, choose your category, and send us your backyard home design!

For full contest details, visit www.kitchener.ca/Contests

Have a question?

Submit your question using the Q&A below. Questions and answers will be posted regularly throughout the competition, so check back regularly!

Congratulations to the winners and honorable mentions! The winning backyard home designs were: 

Thank you to everyone who entered the Backyard Homes Design Competition.  

  • Congratulations to the winners and honorable mentions!

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link


    Thank you to everyone who entered the Backyard Homes Design Competition. We are very pleased to announce the winners and honorable mentions!


    Professional Category

    Winner: GAGA (Green Accessible Granny ADU) by The Architect Builders Collaborative Inc.

    Honorable mentions:

    • Cyrus Medina
    • Miklos Csonti
    • Whitefish Architecture (Graham Whiting)
    • EDGE Architects Ltd. (Matt Bolen, Michael Trussell, Brian Torrens, Anita Helmers, Morgan Wright)
    • Toman Interiors (Krista Toman & Ilhan Ozdemir)
    • Andre Arseneault
    • Hazem Fouad & Mohamed El Sayed


    Student Category

    Winner: Welcome Home to Accessibility by Tamara Bell

    Honourable Mentions:

    • Carry Gilbert, Shelby Heisch, & Isabelle Rousseau
    • Jakob Farquharson
    • Azeza Muhammad, Natasha Quacquarelli & Emma D'arcy


    Community (Adult) Category

    Winner: Four Seasons Backyard Home by Paul Vogiatzis, Christina Vogiatzis, Maria Vogiatzis, Helen Vogiatzis

    Honourable Mentions:

    • Sharon Christie
    • Sheena Brubacher
    • Chris Pursel
    • Ryan Klassen


    Community (Youth) Category

    Winner: Untitled by Lazar Paroski, 17

    Honourable Mentions:

    • Julia Archer, 17
    • Pierce Jichici, 11
    • Elliot Clark, 10
    • Zara Daudjee, 17
    • Carter Chiarot, 12
    • Eileen Kinsella, 7
  • Professional Category

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    supporting image

    Winner: GAGA (Green Accessible Granny ADU)

    The Architect Builders Collaborative Inc.

  • Post-Secondary Student Category

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    supporting image

    Winner: Welcome Home to Accessibility

    Tamara Bell

  • Community (Adult) Category

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    supporting image

    Winner: Four Seasons Backyard Home

    Paul Vogiatzis, Christina Vogiatzis, Maria Vogiatzis, Helen Vogiatzis

  • Youth Category

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    supporting image

    Winner: Lazar Paroski, 17