If you were asked what the ideal classroom should look like, what would you answer? We have it clear: that it is outdoor, versatile, inclusive, respectful with the environment and above all, amusing! With these premises we designed the new temporary school yard, which the students of the school called Zona Santiago, and in which they even collaborated in its conception and design. A place designed for movement!
A plot for all.
Nexttothe Santiago Apóstol del Cabanyal School there is a site formerly occupied by a parking lot. The school did not have its own schoolyard in which to carry out outdoor activities except for the small roof terrace of its own building. The Valencia City Council has temporarily handed over the site to the school, how should be transformed this place so that it becomes a true outdoor learning site?
After a listening process led by Fent Estudi and Nautae, several interesting conclusions are obtained on how the new recovered space has to be designed so that it becomes a playground for the students of the Santiago Apóstol school: It must be an inclusive playground open to everyone, even the neighborhood! It must contain the appropriate elements so it can be inhabited throughout the year and that also activates the desire to carry out activities of all kinds. It should be an open design and build process and, where possible, collaborative. The work of people with a mental health diagnosis was included to the constructive process, which enriched the experience of all the participants.
On the other hand, the premises of the design team and their approach to production and construction were perfectly aligned with the wishes of the community to complement them. These are: Radical reuse, maximum vegetation, materialization with materials that reduce our footprint on the planet and above all, fun in the process and in the result!
With budget conditions and limited deadlines, it was decided to divide the available space into four areas, an outdoor classroom, a small “marine” forest, some orchards and the sports court. The arrangement of the elements has been designed to offer the maximum variety of spaces given the limited surface area.
The wooden classroom articulates the space and is also an artifact for the game when it is not used as a classroom. The design of the exterior classroom structure in the Santiago Zone has been made to optimize the possibilities of the material to the maximum, the circular shape of the set helped us to brace it in all directions. The skin of the "UFO" (as they call it in school) is made of poplar and fir tree that reduce solar radiation and in the future it will be filled with climbing plants. In the short months that it has been in operation, it has already been used as a classroom, assembly, theater, rest, games, concerts...
The “Marine” forest converts disused buoys donated by the València Marina into giant flowerpots where they contain enough land to plant trees on the site (no permission was granted to excavate the soil in the transfer). We made the most of the action so that the students of the school participated in the design process from the realization of small models to the final painting workshop.
Gardens to grow vegetables and recovered benches complete the installation so that this site has been transformed into a new welcoming and active space in the Cabanyal neighborhood of València.