Renaissance Centre Opens to Acclaim

Stormy weather outside did not deter spirits as we gathered to celebrate the Official Opening of the IGS Renaissance Centre on the evening of Tuesday 9 April.


We welcomed the IGS community and special guests including Manuela Bachmann, IGS Board Directors, BVN Architects, our construction partners Rohrig, the Centre’s Project Manager, and our generous Donors, without whom the Centre would not have been possible.

IGS Board Chair Dr Marie Leech conveyed a heartfelt message of celebration, expressing her immense pride in seeing the project come to fruition and extending her sincere gratitude to all involved. We warmly welcomed fellow attending Board Directors, Michael Heenan, Judith Waldock, and Elizabeth Grady.

After the evening commenced with welcomes and light refreshments, many of our guests had their first glimpse of the Centre’s distinctive decor and versatile layout. Attendees commented favourably on the Renaissance-inspired graphics and quotations that adorn its walls.

Formalities began in the Centre’s lecture theatre where an Acknowledgement of Country was given in Dharug language on Gadigal land, and in each of the School’s six core teaching languages. Head Girl Antigone Marchbank welcomed the assembled crowd to this special evening. 

Principal Shauna Colnan provided insight into the genesis of this beautiful new space. 

Ms Colnan shared a photograph from 2019 when she was on sabbatical at the Kennedy School, explaining “I was there to learn about Harvard’s adaptive leadership framework with participants from all around the world. Class took place each day in this lecture theatre and if you believe as I do that the physical environment in a school is the student’s third teacher, then this space facilitated a deeper learning experience like nothing I had ever encountered.

“I wanted IGS students to have what I had and so I took the photo and sent it to our amazing architects BVN, saying, ‘This! This is what we should have’. 

“And true to form, BVN delivered this and so much more. It took shape over the months of construction like a sleek spaceship, ready to transform teaching and learning at IGS.”


An update on plans underway for the School’s exciting new Kindergarten Centre was a particular highlight of Ms Colnan’s speech.

Architect BVN provided insight into the Renaissance Centre’s design, while Head Boy Karam Hartmann shared observations on how much students enjoy the new learning spaces. Personally, he spends time in the Centre for English Advanced and English Extension 2 classes where students can engage in more in depth discussions without added distractions. The Centre has also been great for activities such as Poetry Slams.

Now in use the Centre boasts state-of-the-art facilities including an academic lecture theatre, seminar rooms and versatile break out teaching spaces which are greatly enhancing teaching and learning opportunities for our students. 

Director of Advancement Paul Galea expressed gratitude to our generous Donors before the official ribbon-cutting ceremony, where Manuela Bachmann, a cherished member of the IGS community, had the honour of cutting the ribbon alongside Principal Shauna Colnan.

Manuela first met the School’s Founder, Professor Reg St Leon after moving to Australia with her husband Till from East Germany, where they were principal dancers in the Komische Opera. 

Manuela performed at the School’s official opening on 10 February 1984 and has been closely associated with the School ever since. Commencing in the School’s Aftercare Centre in 1986, Manuela went on to become a long serving Director of IGS Aftercare before her retirement. As a former prima ballerina and committed ballet instructor, it is fitting that the Centre’s Dance Studio is named in her honour.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to all who contributed to the success of this remarkable new addition to our School.