Sylvain Garcia
Product designer, photographer and surf enthusiast living in Sydney.
hero shot BB.jpg

Beebreeder affordable housing competition

How to make housing affordable in Sydney?

The challenge

I thought it would be a great idea to mix my Digital Product Design expertise with my interest in architecture. My friend and architect Camille was available, so I floated him the idea of entering an architecture competition around a subject that’s dear to my heart.

BEE BREEDERS is the leading architecture competition organiser who carries out fully inclusive organisation work for architecture project and architecture ideas competitions. The competition set no specific sites, and participants were requested to choose a general site within Sydney.



I lead the Research phase and dove deep into secondary research looking at ‘Community profile’ reports, ‘Building approvals’ studies and ‘Population forecast’ trends as well as different maps of Sydney showcasing ‘Demographic’, ‘Income & wellbeing’, ‘Housing cost’ and ‘Housing tenure’. I wanted our solution to be tangible.

The ideate, refine & validate phases happened in parallel and through many discussions and poorly drawn scribbles from me, we landed on the ‘floating home’ idea. I put together a mood board and started thinking about a real-life location for our ‘Water houses’.

I’m a Designer, not an architect, so Camille did the heavy lifting in terms of 3D-modelling to bring our idea to life. He was in Europe, and I was in Australia, so he’d designed by day and send me the files for review at the end of the day. In a matter of days, we had our key images ready. During that phase, I scouted locations around Sydney to capture high-quality photos of where our ‘Pods’ could be and found a perfect spot for them in the Pyrmont area.

The last phase of the project was to put the document together following the guidelines given in the competition brief. It was essential for me to have a simple yet powerful presentation. I looked at entries from previous competitions and found that most of them were extremely wordy; therefore, I landed on a layout that would let the images be the hero. I wanted the viewers to be interested and curious about the project. The information is there for them to read, but the main idea behind the project is understandable just by looking at the images and diagrams.




Harbour Life homes are a way to make housing affordable in Sydney, for those of a less privileged background and to younger generations. 

We designed three types of pods made out of composite materials to host around the 55 kilometres of Sydney Harbour: 25 square meters, 50 square meters and a 2x25 square meters one. All of them come with one bedroom, one bathroom, living space with functional kitchen, private deck & rooftop garden, solar panels & power walls.

Depending on precipitation levels and period of the year, the house can be 100% self-sufficient while still using the Sydney water network when needed.



1st place 🎉 - Architecture and design enthusiasts (2018)

4th place - Overall "honorable mention" (2018)

Project published in “ARCHHIVE BOOK No1: What is Affordable Housing?” (2019)


Do you have any questions about this project? Get in touch :)