Therry Courtyard, St Ignatius College, Riverview

From the designers: When Arcadia Landscape Architecture was engaged to design an outdoor space to complement the new Therry Building at St Ignatius College, Riverview, we wanted to challenge the boundaries of what learning environments could be within a school campus. We conceived the Therry Courtyard as a collaborative environment that brings to life the teaching potential of the space.

The master planning process, completed with architecture practice PMDL, presented an opportunity to engage with the school to enrich the project outcome. By involving teachers and staff in the design, we were able to gain valuable insights into the pedagogical potentials of the space.

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There has been a growing recognition of the importance of creating a sense of place for students in educational institutions. The Therry Courtyard at St Ignatius College, Riverview nurtures a sense of place through material palette, spatial orientation and level management. The school’s site, with playing fields and bushland to the west, and city skyline views framing existing school buildings to the east, provided opportunities to connect the students with their natural surroundings. By opening up views across the site, the design of the courtyard enhances orientation and grounds the school’s location within its particular urban and natural surrounds. A variety of robust materials, including concrete, hardwood timber and natural stone, make up a cohesive and durable palette with distinct visual textures. Drawing from the school’s philosophies and locally sourced materials, the design helps to strengthen students’ sense of belonging within the school community, encourage the development of their personal identities and inspire stewardship of their unique campus context.

In order to overcome the confined site footprint and challenge of the existing topography, Arcadia applied a modular stacking form across the sloping site to enable efficient use of the space, as extension of the existing teaching areas was considered a priority. This modular approach allows for adaptation as teaching and learning styles evolve, with a spectrum of spaces optimally sized for collaborative learning.

By creating a variety of flexible and inviting open spaces, the school has been able to extend its teaching and learning opportunities, with active and passive recreation spaces increasing from fourteen to twenty-four learning areas. The project provides areas for students to gather as part of the larger school community, as well as more intimate spaces for reflection and retreat. The Therry Courtyard has been embraced by both students and staff as a space for both learning, socializing and play.


Design practice
Arcadia Landscape Architects
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Project Team
Alex Longley, Michael Barnett, Andrew Mason
Architect PMDL Architecture + Design
Builder Quasar
Civil and structural engineer Mott MacDonald
Landscape construction Landscape Solutions
Site details
Site type Urban
Category Landscape / urban design
Type Outdoor / gardens, Schools
Project Details
Status Built
Completion date 2018
Design, documentation 34 months
Construction 18 months

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