ACO NextGen is pleased to announce its 9th annual Design Charrette, taking place in November and December 2021.

Our design charrettes are a friendly competition between groups to inspire creative uses for old buildings and provide opportunities for learning, networking and professional growth.

In this hybrid event, students will work with a team to imagine an alternative future for the Toronto Prison Chapel, an 1877 former Roman Catholic prison chapel, located in Toronto.

Registration for this event is now closed. Please look out for our next event, the ACO NextGen Job Shadow Program, in February 2022.

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Event Details

Registration closes: November 17th

Group walking tour in Liberty Village: November 20th, 11:00am EST (see details below)

Presentation Day at Campbell House: December 4th, 1:30-4:30pm

This event is designed for students and emerging professionals in fields related to conservation and city-building including architecture, urban design, planning, landscape architecture, environment studies, built history, art history, and heritage conservation. It is intended to encourage creative thinking, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and provide networking opportunities with peers and judges.

This year’s charrette addresses the adaptive reuse of the Toronto Central Prison Chapel at 70 East Liberty Street. Participants will be provided with a number of resources on which to base their designs.

The event will be a hybrid format with participants meeting for an optional in person tour of the site on November 20, led by Sean Marshall of World of Walking.

This is followed by two weeks of virtual or in-person collaboration with their teams.

On December 4th, participants will then present their ideas to a panel of industry professionals. The event will take place in the ballroom of the Campbell House in central downtown Toronto. The 1822 heritage house and museum is well-ventilated and COVID-19 restrictions will be followed. This includes setting a cap on the maximum number of participants to ensure social distancing. All participants must be fully vaccinated before December 4th to participate.

This event is free for Architectural Conservancy of Ontario members. To become an ACO member or check if your membership is still valid, visit the ACO site here. New student memberships are $20, and will also give you access to ACO NextGen’s annual Job Shadow Program in February.


Walking Tour

Saturday, November 20th at 11:00am. Departs from the south-east corner of Liberty Village Park.

This walk for all participants, will give you a context of the Prison Chapel, the surrounding neighbourhood and its history. Participants will be introduced to their team members and discuss ideas. Afterwards, participants may choose to gather at the nearby Brazen Head Irish Pub.


Presentation Day

Saturday, December 4th, 1:30-4:30pm

The presentation event will be held in the ballroom of the Campbell House in central downtown Toronto. Light snacks and beverages will be provided. We will provide a projector and will have a laptop on hand. Participants may choose to bring their own laptops, or can email a copy of their slides to our email ahead of time.

Design Prompt

Charrette participants will be asked to consider the following prompt in their design:

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo popularized the notion of the 15-minute city, where basic necessities should be within a short walk or cycle ride of every home, reducing vehicle trips and emissions for a greener future.

The Toronto Central Prison Chapel is nearly entirely surrounded by high density housing, and remains one of the only undeveloped areas in Liberty Village. What type of public building or service is the neighbourhood lacking, and how could the chapel and surrounding parkette be converted to meet the needs of the surrounding residents in “15-minute” Liberty Village?

ACO NextGen members at a pre-pandemic Design Charrette