2015 Inception Award | Haidee Vogel

THE COMPANY SCHOOL

A PHILANTHROPIC LANDSCAPE

 Currently there is no public high school within Sydney’s inner-city. The secondary school aged population in the inner-city is growing at a pace that exceeds the capacity of surrounding education institutions. Within the decade, a projected 2500 school aged children will be living in the inner-city, with schools nearing full capacity. Clearly, a need exists for an inner-city high school.

Sydney city consists of some of the most valued pieces of land in Australia. The selection of the school’s site established an issue of feasibility surrounding the introduction of a city high school.

Located at 33-35 Pitt St, just below Circular Quay, the site has been identi ed as one of Australia’s most highly valued pieces of real estate. The inner city is largely the domain of the business community and is de ned as a business landscape. Many of these businesses actively support secondary education through programs for high schools students. For example, the law rm Minter Ellison conducts reading and work experience programs with secondary schools to encourage student engagement with school and the workforce. This project proposes a school funded and founded on philanthropic partnerships with the inner-city business community.

Philanthropy is ‘The planned and structured giving of time, information, goods and services, voice and in uence, as well as money, to improve the wellbeing of humanity and the community.’ Philanthropic partnerships would not only entail funding for the school, but also the provision of resources beyond the scope of the school such as work experience, mentoring, and infrastructure sharing. Cohabitation by partner businesses and school students within the school, aims to enhance a perception of value for education through an economic and project driven application. The identi cation of existing corporate partnerships amongst businesses supporting education informed the organisation of businesses within the school. An example of such partnerships includes the partnership between J.P. Morgan and the Australian Business Community Network.

This partnership forms a single faculty encompassing subjects of Mathematics, Design and Technology and Engineering Studies. Five different faculties exist within the school, with various businesses acting as hosts. Faculty speci c materiality functions as a branding device to distinguish ownership of faculties. Within faculties voids operate to enable spatial connectivity, aiming to promote integration across disciplines. Like topic based learning, where many disciplines contribute to the understanding of a topic encompassing real world issues, voids aim to relate schooling disciplines to business content. Disciplines and year groups are divided across stories, with years 7-9 remote from businesses in order to delineate the stage in which integration between the school and businesses occurs (in years 10-12). Voids function according to the intents of faculties.

The Music and Drama faculty’s voids create terraced auditorium spaces that encourage integration of performative activities, whilst the Science, History and Art faculty promotes exhibition. Ultimately voids aim to promote awareness of the application of subjects through connectivity to spaces of integration between businesses and the school. An inner-city high school founded on philanthropic partnerships with the city business community radicalises learning space through integrated relationships between the school and the city, and in turn radicalises the city by its promotion as a viable model for public education.