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  • Ruven Samaraweera and Emilio Ortelli

How to Game Toronto's Red-Hot Housing Market: Be An Engineer

After wasting all of first year complaining about our workloads, my architecture friend, Kumar, and I—an Engineer from Skule™ (me being The Engineer, if you were wondering)—squandered our chance to find a place for second year.

It was at this point that we decided to take things into our own hands and use the wonderful skills that my one year of Skule™—and Kumar’s time at the heavily-lauded Daniel’s School of Architecture—provided to construct a magnificent second year living space.

After poking around backyards and public parks across Toronto, we pooled our resources and started constructing our secluded, low-cost sanctuary.

Our supplies consisted of several thousand square feet of cardboard, a hammer, three screws (borrowed from the exposed ceiling in Myhal), two saws, and one roll of duct tape, which I bought with the last of my OSAP money.

With the supplies splayed out in front of us, Kumar sketched out an innovative design plan.

We started by constructing four vertical support columns. To keep the pillars sturdy, we strangled them with duct tape and slid three bricks from Old Vic underneath.

We placed the pillars on a tarp and began constructing the first wall.

Then, we calculated the load-bearing potential of the columns and put up the first half of our back wall. I neatly welded the cardboard to the brick support base while using some duct tape to ensure the structure was both sturdy and flexible.

After a few hours, we had installed most of the walls and were moving to attach the door onto the frame. Once the door was finally in place, we finished up the last wall and got one of our Dalhousie friends to help raise the roof.

The exterior of the house was finally complete.

Now, all that was left was the furnishing of the interior and some minor waterproofing.

After we sealed the inside, put down a proper floor, and wired up the electricity and WiFi, the place went from looking like this:

To looking like this:

Friends and neighbours alike visited our new home—gasping and snapping pictures of our creation—reaffirming the boundlessness and avant-garde nature of our work. And when it comes down to it, this afterthought of a project demonstrates, really, that the skills I've acquired through Skule™ are far superior to any dumb, stupid liberal arts degree.

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