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Faith and Nature

Designing Curriculum into the Landscape

Rose Goodwin

David Watts

March 2021

This project looks at designing the masterplan for the permanent home of St. Monica Academy in Montrose, California. Using design principles that reflect the unique curriculum and values of the school, I hope to create a landscape that is tailored to the experience that is St. Monica Academy. Through symbolism, color theory, landscape elements, architectural style and green space I intend to bring education outside and reinforce what students learn in the classrooms in their outdoor environment. The new campus will also provide spaces to build and foster community as well as support parents and faculty.



I grew up in Pasadena, California the youngest of nine children. Grammar through high school I attended a small private Catholic school that my parents helped to found in 2001. Becoming a landscape architecture major happened by chance; I had planned to study animal science until I discovered the landscape architecture program. I play the piano and the guitar and I enjoy reading and spending time at the beach. I love country music and line dancing. As a landscape designer I am interested in how childhood development relates to the landscape and the effects of green space on mental health.

Project Introduction

Situated in Montrose, California, St. Monica Academy is a private Catholic school for grades 1-12. The school teaches using the classical curriculum model however, the current campus does not meet the needs of the school. There is not enough classroom or outdoor space for students or faculty. The current site has congested circulation and limited green space. This project seeks to design a campus that reflects the classical curriculum and reinforce the students’ education.

Masterplan and Design Process

Through symbolism, color theory and literary and historical references the curriculum is experienced throughout the site. Grammar school students can learn in a working historical colonial garden. Middle school students can practice public speaking and dramatic arts in the outdoor theatre and high schoolers can wander to the library lawns to study and pray at the Grotto or in the olive grove.

Focus Areas

The chapel gardens include the Mary garden, St. Monica garden and St. Augustine garden. All use color theory and symbolism to reference these saints' lives. They provide areas for quiet meditation and prayer. The grammar school recess area has several direct references to the curriculum of these students and emphasizes a move towards nature-based play.

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