After a series of renovations throughout the century the complex of the schoolyard Kern lost successively the conciseness of the original layout from 1904. Due to the fact that it is inside the municipal inventory of historic gardens, it was a major desire to restore the former spatial generosity of the historic layout as well as to maintain the row of trees adjacent to the Bäckeranlage Park in accordance with the plan of 1904. Meeting this demand and at the same time fulfilling the functional needs, setting up a wide variety of uses on the rather small schoolyard, seemed contradictory and almost impossible. In the first moment the elements that were added after 1927 were demolished and only the most characteristic elements, like the row of trees along the Bäckeranlage Park, two accentuating maple trees in the main entrance axis in front of the sports hall were preserved. The layout of the schoolyard was clarified and adapted to today’s user requirements with a few precise measures.
A group of new 7 concrete frame girders constitute a formal ensemble in the schoolyard. Playground equipment, such as ropes and climbing frames are suspended from them, as well as ball catcher nets for the sports field. In order to provide a covered area, two pairs of frame girders are covered with a glass roof. The entire playground is structured into various functional areas which form a spatial sequence: Starting in the northwest, a playground area is installed with various equipment elements such as a slide, climbing platform, trampolines levelled with the ground, a hammock and various swings. Adjacent to this is a covered break area, followed by a football field and finally, in the southeast, a rope and climbing landscape. Due to the high transparency of these elements, as a result of their suspension, the schoolyard keeps its spatial unity and spaciousness in the sense of the original concept from 1904, and at the same time provides a sequence of diverse spaces.
An existing group of multi-stem maples, originally planted in a concrete trough, are covered with a generous wooden platform as a seating element in the schoolyard and highlighted as the central reference and meeting point of the complex. The wooden deck can also be used for outdoor lessons.
The school garden is relocated to the southeast along the main road, as in the original layout from 1904. Two planting beds are positioned here and are maintained as a vegetable and herb garden by students and teachers. The layout of this school garden area is very much based on the original plan.
In addition, the infrastructural elements, such as parking spaces, lockable bicycle stands and rubbish containers, act as spatial filters for the main road. This peripheral arrangement on the plot perimeter allows the entire schoolyard to be freely used for recreation and play areas. Drug dealing, and drug consume is a huge problem in the area, for this reason, it was important to ensure a high degree of transparency between the school garden and the main road, the fencing is very permeable. It is made up of round bars, each of which forms a pair of brackets. Bracing bracket elements are reminiscent of ornamental elements of classic cast-iron fences.
Landscape Architecture: Neuland ArchitekturLandschaft
Client: City of Zurich
Team Neuland: Ioulia Goula, Roberto Ranieli, Corinne Büchi, Stefanos Petrou, Tecla Mattioni, Laleh Bahrami, Maria Viñé
Civil Engineer: Schnetzer Puskas Ingenieure AG
Planning and realization: 2013-2020