Lancove, NSW | Residential


Translated to ‘dare to do, as much as you can’, the Saint Ignatius motto encourages students to push their limits and strive their hardest, whilst respecting the qualities and traditions written deep into the fabric of the school.

When Arcadia was engaged by St Ignatius to undertake a landscape masterplan and detailed design for the Therry Courtyard, the team immediately saw the potential to create a space that brought the school motto to life.


Arcadia was engaged to create an outdoor space to complement the new Therry Building, stage one of the largest building project undertaken by the school. The Therry Courtyard design was to deliver a collaborative environment which would bring to life the teaching potential. The success of the new space would rely on biophilic design to provide a connection to the natural surrounds, thus helping strengthen the capacity for creativity, focus and wellbeing for the boys.

By creating a sense of place, the Therry Courtyard also reinforces the House pastoral care system, which is at the core of the College, with a creation of clear, accessible and inviting spaces that provide a “home-base” for students. These are places which enable the boys to come together as part of the overall community, as well as somewhere to retreat, reflect, socialise and belong.

Design Process

The creation of the new space gave Arcadia the opportunity to use an innovative approach to challenge the parameters of what constitutes learning space within a school campus.

The master plan process presented an opportunity to engage the School to enrich the outcome. By involving teachers and staff in the design, the team was able to gather valuable information about pedagogy and insights into the potential of the spaces to be provided for teaching and learning.

The extension of the teaching space is integral to the landscape approach. By creating a variety of quality open spaces, the landscape has allowed the school to extend the teaching and learning opportunities, with active and passive recreation spaces increasing from 14 to 24 learning areas. The layout of the landscape infrastructure creates engaging spaces that are optimally sized for collaborative learning.

Sustainable features also help with interactive learning and understanding of environmental concepts, landscape systems, ecology and biodiversity through the design of the endemic planting and WSUD strategies.

Context and materiality

There is a growing recognition of the importance in creating a sense of place for students – it can help strengthen their sense of belonging, develop their personal identity and inspire stewardship. The site of Riverview, with its open views to playing fields, bushland and plenty of natural light from the west, and city skyline views framing existing school buildings to the east, provides plenty of opportunity for the inclusion of biophilic design elements to connect the students with their natural surroundings.

Visually, students are strongly aware of their location with views across the axis of the site, from bushland to city. Previously not possible, these views have been achieved through Arcadia’s careful spatial orientation and level management, with the design ensuring the whole site is being used to its full potential.

A stronger connection to the surrounding national park is achieved through the clever use of materials and levels to create a ‘one of a kind’ landscape experience that is drawn from the school’s philosophies and locally sourced resources. A variety of robust materials, including concrete, hardwood timber, and natural stone, make up a cohesive palette that will maintain their desired appearance throughout time, so landscape features will be readily available in the years to come.

Project completion

The Therry Courtyard opened in Term 3 of 2018, delivering a flexible space that allows the boys to “dare to do, as much as you can”. Arcadia’s design approach and vision has resulted in a space that has been embraced by students and teachers for many uses, including innovative learning activities, a more playful way to circulate around the school and quality open space for passive and active recreation. The space is flexible in terms of use and also future adaptation.