The Sydney Affordable Housing Challenge global ideas competition sought pilot-phase design concepts for affordable housing in Sydney, where the economy is strong yet residential space is among the least affordable according to surveys of major metropolitan markets.
The jury looked for concepts that were flexible and could be applied to different locations in the city. In evaluating the entries, the jury asked questions like “What is specific to Sydney about the design? Does the idea have potential to offer real affordable housing solutions? Does it also strengthen the city fabric in some other way? Even if abstract and conceptual, can it push the city to reconsider housing in new ways?”
The competition concluded with three prize winners, a Bee Breeders Green Award recipient, and six honorable mentions. Check out the top prize-winning entries below.
1ST PRIZE: Bridging Affordable Housing by Tae Jung, Pauline Sipin, Hazel Ventura, Diana Lopez | United States
Jury commentary: The jury’s favorite proposal succeeds in offering Sydney both a new housing network and a network of green spaces. ‘Bridging Affordable Housing’ is comprised of a simple module: a structural bridge pier with decking that contains prefabricated housing units topped by a green roof. The proposal recalls the re-purposed railways that have become NYC’s successful Highline or Paris’ Coulée verte’. One can imagine this new elevated linear housing/park snaking through Sydney organically, growing from multiple locations and eventually merging like connective tissue within the city. The jury encourages the designer to further develop the proposal, so one may get a sense of what it might be like to live in such a space suspended above the city streets: How are the interior spaces organised? How do they relate to the garden above?
2ND PRIZE + BB STUDENT AWARD WINNER: Newborn in the Crevice by Xu Jiatong, Gao Xinyuan, Shi Ying of the Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts | China
Jury commentary: ‘Newborn in the Crevice’ is a vertical or linear collection of cubicle housing blocks intended to fit into existing narrow sites within Sydney’s dense center. The underlying grid by which the blocks are organised avoids monotony with a collection of colorful openings of various sizes, which give the overall simple form a playful and dynamic quality. The interior section with its range of stacked and linear spaces is particularly effective. It includes housing units in addition to common spaces. While the argument for constructing alongside existing high-rise buildings is perhaps the least probable (how does one convince existing building owners to give away their highly-valued views?) the jury would be interested in seeing this project take real form.
3RD PRIZE: TOD and Waterfront Housing by Olga Filipowska, Tomasz Twaróg of the Podhale State College of Applied Sciences in Nowy Targ | Poland
Jury commentary: ‘TOD and Waterfront Housing’ takes the form of stacked prefabricated units floating within the bays of Sydney. TOD, or transit-oriented development, is the basis of design on an urban scale. In particular industrial waterfront sites are proposed to be rethought as points of housing with commercial space at the periphery of the dense city, set along a rail system to reduce the need for cars. The jury is skeptical of the case for ‘expansion’ of units once built but it is certainly a topic to be explored. Water-based construction avoids increased congestion on the streets of Sydney and has many potential benefits for the city’s extensive waterfront.
BB GREEN AWARD: Water smart home Sydney by Kevin Pham, Alex Hoang | Australia
Find more project drawings in the gallery below. You can find the Honorable Mentions on Bee Breeders’ website.
All images courtesy of Bee Breeders Architecture Competition.