The Sydney Affordable Housing competition aimed at garnering global attention to the important issue of housing in Sydney, Australia, where the economy is strong but where residential space is among the least affordable according to surveys of major metropolitan markets.
The jury panel selected the winners for their flexibility and applicability to different locations across the city. The winning submissions sought to create livable housing spaces, and offered more than just affordable housing; often including larger-scale urban plans.
First place – Bridging Affordable Housing by Tae Jung, Pauline Sipin, Hazel Ventura from the USA
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?
Second place – Newborn in the Crevice by Xu Jiatong, Gao Xinyuan, Shi Ying from the Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts in 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.
Third place – TOD & waterfront housing by Olga Filipowska, Tomasz Twaróg – students at Podhale State College Of Applied Sciences in Nowy Targ in 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 Australia natives Kevin Pham and Alex Hoang
Interview: The Sydney Affordable Housing Design Competition appealed to us since Sydney’s on-going housing crisis and mortgage stress have been the city’s most pressing issues and pushed house affordability out of the reach of young people and low-income family.
Solving housing affordability requires the collaborative effort of many stakeholders from policy makers, developers, architects and consultants. However, from an architect’s perspective, we believe housing affordability can be achieved with good planning, “smart” architecture that saves energy and water, innovative construction method that can lower cost, and urban farming for food production.
The design entry aims to contribute ideas that could bring desirable living within reach of the majority of the population and lift the burden of housing affordability for young people and low-income families.
Source and images Courtesy of BEE BREEDERS.