Kirkkojärvi School is on the edge of the Espoo river valley. Beautiful views towards the river valley and Kirkkojärvi Park open up from this spectacular lookout point. The entrance of the school is one storey higher than the valley and the school is on an artificial slope so that the flood waters of the Espoonjoki River do not reach it. The height difference of the school yards varies. Retaining walls, stairs and an amphitheatre disguise the height differences.
The construction site was on the old bottom of the lake and the layer of clay is 20 metres thick in places. Building the school required a fair amount of investment into underground structures. The yards are stabilised or built with pile foundations.
The theme of the yard is playful, with circular shapes that have planting and seating. The circles lead the visitor to the main entrance and the shape continues on the other side of the building on the valley side.
The school yards are situated between the blocks of buildings. Besides the play yards there are also a learning yard, outdoor auditorium, sports field and space for other sports activities. In the school yard can be found regional stones and common tree species in Finland.
The yard is based on an architectural competition won by Verstas architects.
Project name: Kirkkojärvi School Yard
Office: LOCI Landscape Architects Ltd
Role of the office in the project: Landscape architect
Architect: Verstas Architects
Project location: Kotikyläntie 6, 02770 Espoo, Finland
Client: City of Espoo
Design and completion: 2006 / 2010
Photographs: Pyry Kantonen Photography