With the uncoupling of any relationship between education and labour, the current necessity to gate-keep information to prevent a saturated job-seeker environment and retain a surplus population will cease to exist. The admittance to a university will no longer be capped to a finite number, according to the number of available jobs. This could allow universities to become more specifically programmed to their direct environment and responsive and adaptable to the needs and requirements of the community within which they are situated, participating as a node within a broader network of such spaces. At Barangaroo, we see an opportunity for this university to respond to several local entities that are progressively losing their voices within the changing face of Sydney. Firstly the local Millers Point community which is swiftly becoming overshadowed by the growing transitory population of Sydney’s central business district. Secondly the natural ecology of Sydney harbour, which through decades of infrastructural development has receded to an almost imperceptible presence along the hard concrete edge of Sydney’s foreshore.
This institution will act as a tool for people to develop and expand knowledge around intuitive questions and ideas. The public’s curiosity will sustain this university. Members of the public are invited here to formulate research questions guided by their natural curiosity. They can design their own pedagogical steps which grant them access to the facilities and residence on site. Throughout the course of their learning, these people may uncover unexpected interests that they wish to further explore, prompting them to pitch further pedagogical steps to sustain the educational momentum of this university.
This campus in Barangaroo serves as a collection of spaces that aims to facilitate planetary-scale ecological intervention by operating only on the detailed relationship between humans and their immediate ecology. Examples of such spaces include: greenhouses and hydroponic labs at the first and second level of the building, allowing for the growing and sensing of flora under varying conditions, a simulated riverbank constructed upon the existing sandstone shelf at the basement level or a series of aquaponic grow beds at the rooftop level.
These spaces will be fuelled by an aquaponic water system fed by the body of water within Sydney Harbour as well as a series of water tanks that populate the top level of the building. The decades of pollution within Sydney Harbour serves as a foundation for ecological enquiry and discovery. Spaces are provided to formulate alternative ways of interacting with and uses for the surrounding ecology. Examples may range from investigating the replacement of harmful food sources with ecologically beneficial ones to the effective adapting and planning of ecological interventions into polluted sites such as Sydney Harbour.