A ‘Non-Extractivist’ University | Isle of Portland, UK | Unit 21 | 2022


For thousands of years, Portland stone has been extracted for the construction of notable buildings around the world. Whilst these buildings represent the wealth and power of their respective institutions, the Isle of Portland has been left with voids cut into its landscape and high levels of social deprivation. This project investigates how adopting a non-extractivist mindset could counter the idea of the Isle of Portland as a ‘sacrifice zone’ by refilling disused quarries with value to contribute towards the sustainable development of the island.

The proposal is a shared university facility designed to support courses for local people and collaborative, cross-disciplinary fieldtrips for students across universities. It is designed using recursive algorithms and topographic data to generate a highly contextual scheme which is bold in its design, in the hope that it celebrates the legacy of the island’s stone industry whilst inspiring students and promoting mindful extraction.


The scheme is designed by recursively subdividing the site based on topography. A Voronoi script maximises interaction between neighbouring spaces.

The university consists of an auditorium, library, lecture and classrooms, study and social spaces, cafes and accommodation.
The cantilevers are supported by extracted stone from elsewhere in the scheme, celebrating the simultaneously additive and subtractive process.