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Student visions to future-proof Sydney as a global city

23 October 2017
The 2017 Lendlease Bradfield Urbanisation scholarship finalists

Seven architecture and engineering students have been selected as finalists for the 2017 Lendlease Bradfield Urbanisation scholarship based on their inventive ideas for ensuring Sydney’s future success as a global city.

Now in its third year, the annual Lendlease Bradfield Urbanisation Scholarship celebrates the legacy of John Bradfield, the eminent engineer and University of Sydney alumnus best known for his work on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the city’s underground railway system.

This year, students were asked to develop and present an idea for ensuring Sydney’s future as a global city, against the backdrop of the rapidly growing population – expected to reach nine million people by 2036 – and intense growth towards the Blue Mountains.

Some students focused on ensuring the Greater Western Sydney region has the infrastructure, transport, jobs and diversity in housing needed to support the growing population. Others highlighted the role the region could play in the future to ensure Sydney’s status as a global city.

We reveal the ideas of our seven young visionaries for future Sydney. The 2017 recipient of the Lendlease Bradfield Urbanisation Scholarship will be announced at the celebrated Bradfield Oration in Sydney on Tuesday 24 October.

2017 scholarship finalists

Student visions for future Sydney.

Bachelor of Architecture and Environments student Eloise Bull

Biophilic urbanism above and below ground

Cities are built for people – without people there is no need for jobs, houses or infrastructure, says 20-year-old Bachelor of Architecture and Environments student Eloise Bull.

Eloise believes a city’s success is measured by the wellbeing of its people, enriched by their natural environment.

The second-year student sees biophilic urbanism key to growing Western Sydney and a successful metropolis that is not just functional, but living and breathing.  

Eloise's model showing her vision of biophilic urbanism.

Eloise's model showing her vision of biophilic urbanism.

Integrated green living and work spaces would see green roofs and walls mandatory for all new residential and commercial developments to minimise urban heat and provide urban farms.

Drawing on the Parramatta River, the City of Parramatta would have canals and streams running through its meadow streetscapes to cool its microclimate.

The world-class biophilic design would sink its roots into subterranean parts of the city, with underground carpark gardens featuring reflective canopies and solar skylights.       

Bachelor of Architecture (Honours) and Master of Architecture student Marion Edye.

Jenga Homes simplifies living

Bachelor of Architecture (Honours) and Master of Architecture student Marion Edye embraced the minimalist movement and its emphasis on happiness in simplicity when developing her vision for the future of sustainable housing in Sydney.

Inspired by US ‘tiny house’ designer Jay Austin and a family holiday spent on a house boat playing the game Jenga, the first-year student’s ‘Jenga Homes’ comprises small, mountable houses built from Bio PCM insulated shipping containers.

Marion's small-scale model of Jenga Homes.

Marion's small-scale model of Jenga Homes.

These houses can sit upon barges on Sydney waterways, be stacked into low multi-storey dwellings on land, or fitted with wheels for a more mobile lifestyle.

Ultimately, these houses will help people downsize, so their budgets and lives are simpler and less cluttered.

Bachelor of Design in Architecture student Chris Koustoubardis.

Satellite hubs decentralises the city

Decentralisation is the key to supporting Sydney’s population boom and ensuring its future as a smart, sustainable and liveable global city, says second-year Bachelor of Design in Architecture student Chris Koustoubardis.

Chris’s plan is to establish a series of self-sufficient satellite hubs, focused on an intricate transportation system connected to the gateway of the west, Parramatta.

Chris's model of a satellite hub.

Chris's model of shows what a satellite hub could look like.

These interconnected hubs will have a 1.5km radius consisting of a high-density central core (consisting of services, offices, commercial and residential), surrounded by a medium density ring (comprising of residential, recreational, retail and educational spaces) and a green belt outer edge (featuring parklands, lakes and agricultural land).

Bachelor of Architecture (Honours) and Master of Architecture student Caleb Niethe

Modular living, transport and citizen buy-in

Citizens need to have a more invested relationship with their city, believes first-year Bachelor of Architecture (Honours) and Master of Architecture student Caleb Niethe.

Caleb wants to make city living more affordable so people can own a home and live near jobs and services.

He proposes high-density housing with modular apartments, whereby individual units are designed and built from scratch before they are slotted into the existing framework of an apartment block.

Caleb's model of a modular apartment building.

Caleb's model shows high-density housing made possible through modular apartments.

The easy installation and removal of units would allow for design and technology upgrades without collateral damage to other parts of the apartment building. 

The modular principle would extend to an underground electric transport network with compartments detaching to deliver passengers to a particular destination.

Piezoelectric flooring above ground would also convert pedestrians' footsteps into electricity to get citizens actively participating in the sustainability of their city.

Bachelor of Design in Architecture student Marco Pecora

Housing made affordable through shared facilities

A desire to use art and design to make a real-world impact on local communities fuelled Marco Pecora’s decision to study architecture at university.

The first-year Bachelor of Design in Architecture student has channelled this passion into his idea to develop low to medium density estates made affordable through shared facilities.

Marco believes that the sharing of housing, facilities and outdoor areas, will enable the western suburbs to cope with rapid urbanisation while staying true to its working-class roots and facilitating a deep and connected community.

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Science student David Shead

A boring vision for Sydney

Will Sydney be a ‘boring’ city? First-year Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Science student David Shead certainly hopes so.

David believes the way to improve the connections between Sydneysiders and their workplaces is via a network of underground highways – similar to those currently being dug under Los Angeles by inventor Elon Musk – made with tunnel boring machines.

Hosting automated electric carts, these highways would facilitate high-speed travel, drastically cutting commute times and ensuring that Sydney remains liveable and dominant on the world stage.

Bachelor of Design in Architecture student Brigid White

The Parramatta Rail Infrastructure Network (PRIN)

Bachelor of Design in Architecture first-year student Brigid White from Blackheath knows the commute between the Blue Mountains and Sydney’s CBD all too well.

This drives her vision for a high-speed metro rail service she calls the Parramatta Rail Infrastructure Network (PRIN) – following in the footsteps of John Bradfield who led the Sydney vision for rail when he planned the successful City Circle line. 

Parramatta would serve as the central departure terminal for PRIN, with major lines to the key residential growth areas towards Badgerys Creek Airport, Penrith and Sydney’s North West.

She sees PRIN paving the way for Parramatta to be the gateway to Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains – also improving access to the popular World Heritage-Listed tourist attraction that was Brigid's backyard growing up. 

Mandy Campbell

Media and PR Adviser (Architecture, Design and Planning)
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Jennifer Peterson-Ward

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