Project: UMY 2040

UMY campus is a place vibrant with culture, and rich with tradition, backed by strong values and a drive among staff to fulfil these. While a smoke-free campus has been implemented, tobacco culture is still ever prevalent on campus, reflecting the lack of government initiative to combat the wicked problem. 

At the heart of the UMY campus is the 8 point star, a recurring motif found throughout the architecture of the campus. It’s significance to Islamic culture derives from its use throughout the Qur’an, as a calligraphic symbol to mark the end of a chapter, signifying a new beginning (Ancient Symbols, 2017). Our future scenario brings this symbolism to life, as we use the stars physical structure on the campus, as a platform to begin a new chapter, focused on sustainability and community; in effect closing the chapter of tobacco.

Proposed structure to be built upon the pre-existing cafeteria building

Our solution is green. We envision a campus with its own ecosystem, in which students, staff, flora and fauna work together to promote sustainable living. We were heavily inspired by the already in place ‘green systems’, which from our research, highly resonated with the student body. Campaigns encouraging students to reduce the amount of plastic they produce have had a positive response, with students expressing their visions for an environment free from pollution.

We envision the transformation of the pre-existing cafeteria building, to be turned into a lively eco hub. The downstairs will remain a cafeteria space, with inviting places to socialise, share meals, collaborate and create. The roof floor which is currently, mostly unused will feature an agricultural ecosystem. Local fruits, vegetables and herbs will be grown here, to be harvested and used in the kitchen below.

The construction and maintenance of this communal space will bring students and staff together, educating and promoting a culture around sustainable living. Bringing students into this centralised area will drive them out of the regions behind buildings generally known for smoking, and provide them with an alternative activity to do between and after classes. By providing vibrant, social spaces, we hope to gradually break the habits of smoking in free time, eventually leaving no room for tobacco culture.

Looking at the current context of successfully integrated green campaign that resonate highly with students. Our timeline suggests that to achieve a smoke free campus, the promise for a techno eco sustainable utopia will be the driving frontier for a social movement around anti smoking, not only educating for health but also environmental impact. For example by 2028 renewable green infrastructure has been planned and begins to take form on the campus, thus with physical instillations and the ever growing green movement students actively support their pro-green eco systems and eradicate smoking in university spaces.

An example piece of work from the anti-cigarette green social movement posted around the campus. Apart from the catchy English nouns the poster translates to ‘please don’t smoke on our campus, it not only damages our air quality but also our beautiful hand built ecosystems’.

There is a fairly significant colony of stray cats on the UMY campus and we see those cats as a metaphor for the concepts behind the environmentally friendly and sustainable movement we have created. Through our research and interviews we found that cats have incredible significance in Islam, they are mentioned in the Qur’an a number of times noting that they are respected as members of the family and protectors of the houses against deadly insects. We decided rather than eliminate all the stray cats we saw on campus we decided to defy the status quo of seeing stray cats as pests and incorporated them into our vision of what we see the campus to be like in 20 years time By purposefully including cats in our vision it challenges the stereotypical concept of fauna absent ecosystem. 

In terms of a timeline considering the cats on campus, currently we can see the cats that they do not seek out humans for anything more than food scraps and there is no relationship between humans and the cats with nothing cat specific on campus. We noticed that the cats were eating fish from the water features on campus to feed themselves and their kittens and were inspired by the fact they were living a self sufficient life to launch our idea of incorporating them in a larger more specific role in our idea of the ecosystem of UMY in 2040.

In the years between now and 2040 taking steps toward the end goal could include more awareness of the cats on campus and educating students on respecting them and not seeing them as pests through signage or lectures. In 2040 we envision that the cats on campus are no longer considered stray but part of the ecosystem with cat specific systems and structures in place. We’ve designed bamboo structures throughout including an irrigation system for them to drink from not too dissimilar to the one that was seen on campus. Cat faeces are an excellent fertiliser due to the high levels of phosphorus and could be used when tending to the gardens on campus. We envisage that there are societies and groups dedicated to the care and awareness of the cats and that the cats could be used as “therapy animals” for people on campus. That cats are seen as an integral part of of the on campus community and a source of connection and give purpose to those who want it.

The bamboo structure, built upon the star was a school community project, carried out over the course of 3 years. Students were provided the opportunity to come up with an innovative design that responded to the local tropical climate. The winning design features 3 channels in the roof of the structure, that use bamboo panels to guide and funnel the water into irrigation and storage systems. Doing so ensures water from the monsoon season is maximised across the dry season, while also creating partial protection to the more fragile plants growing below during heavy rainfall. Student and staff members worked together to build the structure, in a program to educate students on sustainable methods of construction, and create a deeper connection to the campus.

Design of roof structure, featuring 3 channels made from bamboo paneling, to guide and funnel rainwater into irrigation and storage systems.

Top floor features:

  • composting and vegetation
  • Sustainable nature of whole project, being an ecosystem 
  • waterfall, pumping irrigation system, pond, stream, rainfall
  • Walkway on the exterior of the bamboo structure, 
  • Appropriating existing unused space for greenery leisure
  • Covered in flora mainly grass and more robust plantations that don’t need much upkeep. Students can walk around the exterior of the structure
  • Stationed bamboo furniture

Scene from top floor, showing a student enjoying the agriculture on the top floor

Bottom floor features:

  • trading style society within bottom of the structure,
  • Functionality of bottom structure:
  • there will be praying mats, 
  • seating for dining, study and leisure/freetime/ socialising
  • Ring of plantations around the central pod where there is ease of exposure to lights, 
  • minimal instillations of native rainforest plants that can live in darker, That will be sustained by the overarching  water irrigation systems
  • kitchen/work area for preparing meals, harvesting crops and interacting with the surrounding sustainable farming practices

Scene from bottom floor, featuring students enjoying the cafeteria area


Barker, A, 2018, ‘Jakarta has a serious cat problem: containing it is dirty work’, ABC News, 19 March 2018, viewed 14 December 2019, <>.

Lim, J. 2012, ‘The whiskers syndicate’, WordPress, viewed 14 December 2019, <>.

Morgan, L. 2017, ‘Build it right: determining greenhouse design by climate’, Maximum Yield, 13 July 2017, viewed on 14 December 2019, <>.

2017, ’Rub el hizb symbols’, Ancient Symbols, viewed 14 December 2019, <>.

2019, ‘Tobacco legislation and policy timeline’, Acosh, viewed 14 December 2019, <>

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