All cities contain myriad disused sites, functionally vacant and culturally distinct. They exist within the urban fabric, though via disuse or disconnection, they exist distinct from that fabric.
They are Urban Islands.
In a climate of increasingly interconnected homogeneity, these urban islands present new opportunities for the cities in which they exist. The unique conditions of these sites demand responses more expansive and flexible than conventional urban redevelopment and regeneration.
Cockatoo Island is such a place. Its physical character is open to interpretation, as the site has been continuously inhabited, altered and reinhabited throughout its history. From brutal prison and girls’ reformatory, through to training facility, naval shipbuilding complex and now, site of cultural experimentation, it has constantly been a shifting territory. The Island presents an ideal site for investigations both phenomenological and conceptual, as a site both vacant and full, near and far, real and imaginary.
“The history, and the magic, of islands have always been bound up in processes of discovery, communication and creation. Over time, engagement with and development of these special places revolves around what we find there, what we bring there, and ultimately, what we make there.”
Google map location photo
Turbine hall interior
Crane and ship launching ramp
View from sea
For more information about Cockatoo visit the Sydney Harbour Trust site