Engineering students create affordable housing designs in support of Calgary’s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness

April 15, 2009

With Calgary’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness entering its second year, students at the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary are adding their design skills to the “Housing First” focus of the Plan.


“Tapping into the minds of Calgary’s post-secondary students is a great way to develop creative, new ways of building affordable housing and help address challenges vulnerable Calgarians face,” says Tim Richter, President and CEO of the Calgary Homeless Foundation. “I’m excited to see what the Schulich engineering students produce.”


Working from an integrated approach where all aspects of the design from costing to sustainability are considered and applied, first-year engineering students have used their design and problem-solving skills to prepare proposals and prototypes for affordable housing in Calgary. The project is part of a compulsory class in engineering design and communication.


More than 650 students collaborated on 24 designs, each of which had to take into account client needs, neighbourhood requirements and concerns, architectural integration with surrounding buildings and sustainable and green building practices and materials – and they had to do it on a budget.


Marjan Eggermont, a senior instructor with the Schulich School of Engineering, has been tracking student progress on the project blog,, which gives students design inspiration from outside sources and other groups’ work. The Calgary Homeless Foundation provided speakers to help students understand the challenges faced by those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.


“At the Schulich School of Engineering, we encourage students to get involved outside the classroom and use their skills and creativity to make a difference in the community,” says Eggermont. “The guest speakers provided valuable insight by giving the project a human face and inspiring students to design housing that also serves specific needs."


The designs will be revealed at the Design Open House on April 15, 2009, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon outside the MacEwan Hall first-floor ballroom at the University of Calgary. The event will be an opportunity for students to present their affordable housing concepts and for guests to ask questions.


About the Calgary Homeless Foundation


The Calgary Homeless Foundation leads the implementation of Calgary’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness. Issued in January 2008, Calgary’s 10 Year Plan was created by the Calgary Committee to End Homelessness, a community-based, multi-stakeholder leadership group who issued the Plan and selected the Foundation to implement the Plan. The Foundation is moving forward on Calgary’s 10 Year Plan in partnership with the many homeless serving agencies, the private sector, our government partners, the faith community, other foundations and all Calgarians to end homelessness in Calgary once and for all.


About the Schulich School of Engineering


The Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary is located in the engineering capital of Canada. It is known for strong research, commitment to innovation and international excellence. The Schulich School is ranked among the top engineering schools in Canada and offers the highest entrance scholarships in the country. Student leadership and internship programs are helping to train highly skilled engineers who will become leaders in business and innovation.


Media contacts:

Marjan Eggermont    
Senior Instructor            
403.210.9888 (office)

Schulich School of Engineering:     
Sarah Lockwood          
403.210.9889 (office)

Calgary Homeless Foundation:

Sheridan McVean

Communications & Fund Development

403.718.8539 (office)