NIKA Creative Lab wins affordable housing competition

28 March 2018
Credit: NIKA Creative Lab
  • NIKA Creative Lab
  • NIKA Creative Lab
  • NIKA Creative Lab

NIKA Creative Lab




Green bridge design offers attractive living space

A common problem in cities throughout the world is planning for affordable housing, as success is dependent not only on design, but also on trends in the housing market, average incomes, zoning and land use policies. The Sydney Affordable Housing Competition aimed to bring global attention to the important issue of housing in a city with a strong economy, where residential space is expensive.

A number of trends were evident in the submitted proposals, in particular modular design. The jury ranked ideas for liveable housing spaces over those trying to utilise interesting but impractical geometric shapes. Another emerging theme was affordability of construction, including prefabrication, adaptive re-use of materials, and the establishment of new financing models. The judges found the most interesting submissions included larger-scale urban plans, adding value to the land and recapturing development costs with commercial spaces, transportation hubs and green areas.

The winning proposal by NIKA Creative Lab offers Sydney both new housing and a network of green spaces. 'Bridging Affordable Housing' is comprised of a simple module: a structural bridge pier with decking containing 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.

NIKA is a firm combining architecture, engineering, enterprise technology and facilities operations management services, while its Creative Lab is a dedicated research studio formed to solve architectural challenges. The team stated: “Through the NIKA Creative Lab, we are always looking for ways to cultivate new ideas in a collaborative ‘lab’ environment. Vision competitions are the perfect place to test and build a conceptual model of organic design ideas that can influence research and real projects in future."

Lucy Nordberg

TenderStream Research Specialist & Editor

This competition was first published by Tenderstream on 09.10.2017. See the original brief here

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