Critical Companions Series: Ocean Pools Project


The Critical Companions Series celebrates innovative and rich thinking. ‘Critical Companions’ are individuals within the Sydney Environment Institute’s network that inspire others with their unique methodology to stretch horizons and strengthen thinking.

The inaugural lecture was given by Nicole Larkin, University of Sydney Masters of Architecture graduate and affiliate of the Sydney Environment Institute. Larkin’s research is based on capturing ocean pools in New South Wales and looks to publish a best practice design guideline for ocean pools as a resource for professionals and the community.

Her presentation gives an overview of the Wild Edge, a project which documents NSW’s ocean pools. Set against sublime headlands and tucked into sweeping beaches, ocean pools are understated turquoise sanctuaries. Concrete walls meld with natural rock and are engulfed by the surf twice a day.

Download the full Wild Edge Report


00:00   Introduction and Welcome to Country – Abbas El-Zein
04:40   The Wild Edge – Nicole Larkin
35:30   Adaptation with Rising Sea Levels
39:55   Respecting the Coastline
42:55   Designing a Space for Humans and Non-Humans
46:50   Nicole Larkin’s Favourite Ocean Pool
47:35   Who Holds Responsibility for Maintaining Ocean Pools?
52:00   The Debate Around State Heritage Protection of Ocean Pools
58:50   Ocean Pools in the Context of Rising Sea Levels
1:02:15 Indigenous Aqua-culture


Professor Abbas El-Zein (Chair), School of Civil Engineering, The University of Sydney
Nicole Larkin, Architect and Designer

This event was held via Zoom on Wednesday 9 September, 2020.

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