Sydney’s One Central Park is the subject of the first free online course offered by the UNSW Built Environment for aspiring urban designers and architects who can explore the design and development of the city’s prominent sustainable high-rise building.

Re-Enchanting the City: Designing the Human Habitat is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) aimed at teaching students the cultural, environmental and political aspects of urban development. Ranked World’s Best Tall Building 2014, One Central Park is designed by Parisian architect Jean Nouvel, and has been awarded a five-star green rating by the Green Building Council of Australia.

Some of the sustainable design highlights of the famous commercial and residential building include the world’s tallest hanging gardens, the world’s largest cantilevered heliostat, internal water recycling, and a low-carbon power plant.

Course designer and Associate Dean (Education) Built Environment, Oya Demirbilek explains that Re-Enchanting the City is an introduction to the interdisciplinary nature of city-making. Central Park ticked all the boxes for the course as it’s a successful, new hyper-dense urban development situated in the heart of Sydney, and represents a collaboration between built environment professionals, local and international architects, artists, the government and the community. 

The evolution of the development is tracked through video interviews with high-profile experts and project stakeholders including Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of City of Sydney Council; Elizabeth Farrelly, UNSW Associate Professor of Practice and Sydney Morning Herald columnist; former Dean of UNSW Built Environment, Emeritus Professor Alec Tzannes, Director of Tzannes Associates; environmentalist Michael Mobbs; and famous French botanist, Patrick Blanc who designed the building’s 1,120 sqm vertical gardens.

According to UNSW Built Environment’s Dean Professor Helen Lochhead, course participants will hear from eminent architects, urbanists and commentators, who are all engaged in the shaping of the built environment, and especially the One Central Park project.

Students will study One Central Park’s development from the earliest planning and site purchases through to its completion, including the examination of design innovations in green technologies, structure, construction, and environmental and building services.

Offered through the teaching platform FutureLearn, the free 6-week MOOC has already secured more than 1,400 enrolments since its launch last month.

Re-Enchanting the City: Designing the Human Habitat goes live in May and is open to all, including high school and current students or career changers.

Image: Sydney's Central Park - Photo courtesy of Frasers Property Australia and Sekisui House Australia