From a green granny flat, to a fully accessible tiny home, Kitchener’s Backyard Homes Design Competition winners showcase the talent and creativity of residents.

The backyard homes competition challenged the community to design concepts for a backyard home in Kitchener, while telling a story of who the home was designed for. The City is excited to announce winners in four categories: youth, adult, post-secondary and professional. The City’s zoning bylaw, user experience, affordability and sustainability were all considered in selecting the winners.

"Residents across Kitchener are looking for alternative and innovative ways to make home ownership more affordable and attainable," said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “The backyard homes competition was a fun and creative way to address this, and we are thrilled to see how residents are helping shape the vision for backyard homes with great and achievable ideas."

The winning designs reflect a diverse set of design considerations and uses. For example, the post-secondary student category winner Tamara Bell designed a backyard home that prioritized accessibility and sustainability. This winning design was envisioned as a secondary dwelling unit for a family sponsoring an international arrival to Canada. Featuring smart home features and locally sourced building components, the design is fully compatible with the latest accessibility legislation and is suitable for users of all ages and abilities.

A jury panel made up of a planning professor from the University of Waterloo, a Ph.D. candidate from the University of Waterloo, two professors from Conestoga College, and a representative from the City of Kitchener reviewed all the submissions. The panel awarded first place prizes of up to $2,500 in each category, along with several honourable mentions.

“The design competition offered an exciting opportunity to apply new ideas, to think outside the box and be creative,” said Ward 6 Councillor and Chair of the Planning & Strategic Initiatives Committee, Paul Singh. “Designing for a location that has a personal connection provided extra incentive—a chance to create something innovative, but also practical, for the person who would live there.”

In addition to filling the requirements of the competition, winning projects displayed a strong concept and unique personality. These are the winners of Kitchener’s Backyard Homes Design Competition:

Professional -The Green Accessible Granny ADU by The Architect Builders Collaborative Inc. (Ana Gascon Marco) (see full design proposal)

Post-secondary - Welcome Home to Accessibility by Tamara Bell (see full design proposal)

Community (Adult) - Four Seasons Backyard Home by Paul Vogiatzis, Christina Vogiatzis, Maria Vogiatzis, Helen Vogiatzis (see full design proposal)

Community (Youth): Lazar Paroski, 17 years old (see full design proposal)

Kitchener City Council recently approved a new zoning bylaw amendment that allows for detached additional dwelling units – often called tiny homes or backyard homes. This allows residents who meet requirements to build backyard homes, coach homes, laneway suites, tiny homes and more. Find out more about these requirements on the City’s website.  

The City is committed to support housing availability in Kitchener by increasing supply in innovative ways such as backyard homes, as well as through other concrete actions outlined in its Housing for All strategy. This supports the City’s strategic goal of building a more caring community.

All contest winners and honourable mentions will be featured on the city website. For more information visit


For more information:  

Shawn Falcao 
Manager, Corporate Communication 
City of Kitchener 

Adam Clark 
Urban Designer 
City of Kitchener

Appendix (winners and honourable mentions):



 The Architect Builders Collaborative Inc.

Honourable mention

Cyrus Medina

Miklos Csonti

Whitefish Architecture

Edge Architects

Krista Toman & Ilhan Ozdemir 

Andre Arseneault

Hazem Ahmed & Mohamed Elsayed



Tamara Bell

Honourable mention

Carry Gilbert, Shelby Heisch, & Isabelle Rousseau

Jakob Farquharson

Azeza Muhammad, Natasha Quacquarelli & Emma D'arcy

Community - AdultName


Paul Vogiatzis, Christina Vogiatzis, Maria Vogiatzis, Helen Vogiatzis

Honourable mention

Sharon Christie

Sheena Brubacher

Chris Pursel

Ryan Klassen

Community - YouthName


Lazar Paroski, 17 years old

Honourable mention

Pierce Jichici, 11 years old

Elliot Clark, 11 years old

Zara Daudjee, 17 years old

Carter Chiarot, 12 years old

Eileen Kinsella, 7 years old

Julia Archer, 17 years old