Guiding the Journey: Wayfinding Enhancements in Unified Pathways at St. Catherine’s


26 Albion St, Waverley NSW 2024
St Catherine’s is a prestigious school with a long Anglican tradition located in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. As part of their ongoing commitment to improving educational outcomes the school recently completed stage one of a multi-year master plan by delivering the Performing Arts and Aquatic Centre (the Centre).

The immediate need addressed by the project was to accommodate significant new wayfinding destinations in a constrained and complex multi-level campus with numerous entry points. In the near future outcomes needed to be transferrable across the site. The school welcomes regular influxes of visitors throughout the year, from prospective parents on open days to visiting students and event guests, all of whom need to confidently navigate their way. The wayfinding had to provide a cohesive experience that tied the site and buildings together from entrance to door for all users. Inspired by the stunning setting overlooking the sandstone cliffs near Coogee beach the wayfinding is an innate extension of brand and place, using natural materials to create a warm and welcoming experience in keeping with the heritage buildings, lush gardens and contemporary additions.

Inside the campus the strategic approach was to establish a series of precincts centred around memorable spaces that allowed the site to be understood from a cognitive level. This multi-tiered tactic allows navigation with differing approaches suitable for all ages and levels of familiarity. Practical wayfinding support is provided through new maps and directional signage with prominent precinct identification. The signage is designed with replaceable panels to allow updates as the master plan is delivered over the coming years.

The installation of the new wayfinding coincided with the opening of the Centre and start of a new school year, with a corresponding influx of visitors to the site successfully finding their way through the site on open days, site visits and events. Above and beyond the practical wayfinding improvements the signage and graphics have featured as prominent placemaking backdrops in a range of social media posts, with St Catherine’s thrilled at the uplifted brand presence.

An audit of the site, brand, community and audience identified a need to balance both traditional values with a fresh and contemporary appeal. Mapping user journeys and using this to understand their hierarchy of needs allowed simplification of the on-site messaging. This in turn facilitated refined graphic solutions in keeping with the St Catherine’s elite brand positioning.
Mayoh Architects
Richard Crookes
Singleton Moore Signs
Photography by Tyrone Branigan

2024 Winner SILVER Australian Design Awards
2023 Winner GOLD Sydney Design Awards