Developed as an integral part of the public domain redevelopment at the Darlington Campus, University of Sydney, Golden Grove is a collaboration with landscape architects Taylor, Cullity and Lethlean (Melbourne).
Responding to the perception that the university’s public spaces were unsafe and unfriendly, especially at night, Golden Grove adopts a different approach to the creating sustainable meeting places. Instead of over-regulating and over-lighting, it uses a combination of ground patterning, dispersed and embedded lighting and stencilled poetic texts to create a sense of animation, of rhythmic interconnectivity across place and time.
Golden Grove uses the cultural, poetic and material aspects of the site to renew its sense of place. The design draws on the many stories associated with the site’s name – ‘golden grove’. These stories include the earliest white farm, a late 19th century Redfern hotel, Indigenous links to Black Wattle Creek, the site’s feminine associations, and the university’s astronomical research connections. All these stories are told through the Pleiades star constellation, also known as Golden Grove, and its nine star points located across the site.
Places are made after their stories and Golden Grove references the University of Sydney’s motto, ‘The stars may change, the spirit remains the same.’ As the University’s Vice-Chancellor has pointed out, in the new educational environment of the 21st Century, the ‘spirit’ must also change, embracing new technologies, broadened communities and contested environments. Celebrating the University’s tradition of invention, Golden Grove symbolizes an institution’s capacity to respond to change.