Sicilian Courtyard Restored

The space has a serene, peaceful quality, a place for quiet conversations or outdoor study. The courtyard has formal elements that provide order and stability, yet within that space are informal components that enhance the feeling of welcome and comfort. The skillful integration of the formal and rectilinear with the casual and naturalistic is at the heart of the success of the courtyard.

Understanding these attributes of the space was essential to guiding its reconstruction.

Scripps College treasurer James Manifold; Lola Trafecanty, director of grounds; and the campus building and grounds committee provided strong direction, and were conscientious in facilitating a restoration/reconstruction that represented the original as closely as possible.

Donors Gloria and Glen Holden graciously added the financial support to allow for this project to move forward in a timely manner.

The historic photographs were constant references in preparing the contract documents, and Streatfield was a guiding light, reviewing the plans for historic appropriateness.

Some of the original flagstones were discovered and reused, while the wellhead was successfully put back in place.

Trafecanty and a civil engineer, Eric Andreasen, arranged a successful hidden drainage system surrounding the wellhead so that no drain grates would be visible.

The contractor, Tom Hiroyashu, of Excaliber Construction, endeavored to replicate the sizes and shapes of the flagstone paving stones that appeared in the photographs.

The landscape contractor, Morgan Wilson, adjusted the placement of the oak trees to line up perfectly with the seams of the paving.

A beautiful, appropriate space gives peace of mind. It inspires those who work on it–and generations of future students–to do their best work.

The grand opening of the reconstructed courtyard was December 2009.

The students arriving on campus in the years following, not knowing the sequence of the original design and the restoration, sit at the tables under the oaks and casually do what students do. Scripps’ “taste and judgment” are seeping in, we trust.

Ann Christoph is a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects and owner of Ann Christoph Landscape Architecture. For more information, visit

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One comment on “Sicilian Courtyard Restored

  1. Scripps College on said:

    Great article! Here’s some more information about Sicilian Court for your readers:

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