Design Thesis Projects 2018 - 2019
Nguyen centre image

Amanda Nguyen
Advisor: Lancelot Coar

A Winnipeg street census was performed in April 2018 to best document the number of people experiencing homelessness in the downtown area. The results was 1,500 which exceeded the number documented a couple years before.  When the participants were asked what would help them transition out of homelessness, the most common answers were affordable housing, secure employment and support or advocacy. It was evident that these three needs, although quite different, somehow needed to work together for a successful transition from homelessness.   

In November 2018, I had the opportunity to attend a national conference, called End Homelessness in Hamilton, Ontario.  The conference was moving, thought-provoking and at times emotionally difficult. There were numerous powerful speakers, but one lady had the biggest impact on my perception of housing. Lelani Farha, a housing advocate for the UN stated that housing is being treated like a commodity, yet we need to realise that housing is a human right.

This thesis adopts this attitude that affordable housing is a human right and should be accessible to all. It is a proposal not only about shelter, but about implementing a system to support people who are struggling to transition from homelessness to having a home. This project questions what affordable housing is and how do we achieve it. It explores how we tap into available resources like reclaimed lumber through the process of deconstructing old houses instead of demolishing them. It also investigates how prefabricated modular panels can be used to allow for quick and efficient house construction. Lastly, it examines how these two processes of deconstruction and prefabrication can create new skill building opportunities for people who face barriers to employment. Through exploring alternative economies, ultimately, this project is about building community, the passing on of knowledge, the process of renewal and growth, the sense of belonging, and a place to call home.

Image Captions:

1.    Alternate Economies
2.    Front & Rear Elevations
3.    Sectional Perspective
4.    Pre-fab wall panels
5.    Community Garden & Skating Trail
6.    Renderings


1 “Winnipeg Street Census Final Report,” Winnipeg Street Census, last modified October 10, 2018,

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