Institute without Boundaries

Founded in 2003, the Institute without Boundaries (IwB) is a Toronto-based studio that works towards collaborative design action and seeks to achieve social, ecological and economic innovation.

At the Institute, we see the designer as a problem solver with the ability to effect positive change for humanity. We are a place where students, teachers, industry and community experts can come together not only as creators and designers, but as ambassadors of hope.

We imagine how to live, learn, work, and play together as a global community and seek alternative development patterns and a viable path to a bright future.

The IwB has Three Divisions


The Institute without Boundaries is a 1-year intensive post-graduate certificate-program in Interdisciplinary Design Strategy offered through the George Brown College School of Design to students from diverse professional and academic backgrounds.

Each year, the IwB partners with a real-world organization and develops a Major Project around their complex needs. Students learn skills, do research, create comprehensive proposals and present their work over the course of the academic year– all of which is guided by the demands of their Major Project.

Every Major Project is itself part of larger multi-year projects undertaken by the IwB.

The IwB’s current project, City Systems, examines the city at macro and micro levels, seeks to understand the mechanisms and façades of the urban environment, and explores the past, present, and future of civilization as it relates to urban life.

The demands put on the students, as well as the quality of their final work are quite high. As such, the amount that students learn in this program is exceptional. This experience prepares them for a variety of jobs in the professional world. Additionally, some or all of their course work at the IwB may be eligible towards a Master’s Degree at partner institutions.

The partner for the 2012/13 year is the city of Dublin, Ireland. This project will centre on examining the various systems that make up the city and proposing new and innovative sustainable urban practices that build on the existing planning practices in the city of Dublin.

If you are interested in finding out more about the program, please contact the IwB’s Program Co-ordinator, Michelle Hotchin or click here to learn more on how you can apply.


The Institute without Boundaries offers consulting services for outside organizations through our charrette process.

Charrettes are a collaborative and creative effort between designers, architects, other industry professionals and the client that lead to immediate design solutions using a multidisciplinary and comprehensive approach. The Institute facilitates each charrette with the intention of generating holistic results that target the ecological, economic, social, political and cultural complexities of the project, as well as addressing the diverse needs of multiple stakeholders.

The Institute frequently hosts charrettes for residential, commercial and institutional projects. Outcomes range from concepts for spatial, program, operational and business planning, to schematic drawings, budget estimates, material recommendations and phased development schedules. Clients typically use charrette results to develop investment opportunities and mobilize communities.

Past consultancy charrettes include Chateau Masson, a community charrette in Windsor that put forward property development proposals for the housing of people who were developmentally delayed or mentally ill. Another consultancy charrette example is the Twin Pines charrette which was held to explore options for the community of a once privately owned trailer park now under ownership of a non-profit housing company whose affordable housing lease agreement is soon to expire.

If you are interested in finding out more about the IwB’s consulting services, please contact the IwB’s Program Co-ordinator, Michelle Hotchin.


Special Projects

Every year, the Institute without Boundaries also partakes in a number of special projects and events designed to enhance the curriculum of the Major Project. These projects include community events and presentations to receive feedback from the project stakeholders and local residents, international research trips. the yearly Interior Design Show where the students create a booth presenting their project to the public after the end of the first semester and much more.

Furthermore, several of our staff work exclusively on a variety of special projects with other partners who share goals in-line with the IwB’s mandate and mission - fostering collaboration between disciplines and creating innovative, local and sustainable solutions to 21st century global challenges. These projects span the fields of urban planning and development, exhibit design, architecture and more.

If you are interested in finding out more about the the IwB’s special projects, please contact the IwB’s Program Co-ordinator, Michelle Hotchin.
Sign-Up for our Newsletters
Follow Us
About the IWB

The Institute without Boundaries is a Toronto-based studio that works towards collaborative design action and seeks to achieve social, ecological and economic innovation. To learn more click here.

George Brown College
©2011 George Brown College
Ontario Student Assistance Program
Scroll to Top