Full project title: Balance in Diversity – Redesign of the schoolyard of the Albert-Schweitzer-Geschwister-Scholl-Gymnasium in Marl

The school grounds of the Albert-Schweitzer-Geschwister-Scholl-Gymnasium (ASGSG) secondary school in Marl are characterized by a varied stock of old trees. The schoolyard is used by more than 1,000 students, and by a go-kart club on the weekends. The school grounds already had large activity areas, but there were hardly any unpaved areas or dedicated play areas available. 
The redesign now creates a schoolyard site with additional educational and sporting opportunities. These new offers and opportunities complement the leisure activities of the students outside the class room time, and add to make the schoolyard serve as an intercultural, integration-promoting assembly area.

The concept
The motto “Balance in Diversity” came about in the course of an intensive participation and contribution of students and teachers in autumn 2016, where throughout three phases specific requirements, requests, and ideas were first exhaustively investigated, and then integrated into the design planning accordingly.

The schoolyard entrance is relocated to the east. This creates a transitional space between the main entrance and the schoolyard, which channels movement and calms the other areas. The formative and space-forming tree population is preserved. A coloured “movement strip” runs across the entire schoolyard and visually connects various activity and relaxation areas with each other.

The schoolyard
An activity area with soccer fields was set up west of Building A. An island for concentrated recreation with balancing and jumping bollards emerges as an anti-pole south of the Mint office. Between Building B and the gym, a streetball basket and table tennis tables are provided, and north of the gym there is a play grove area with climbing and balancing equipment, horizontal bars, and a boulder element. As highlight and located opposite the main entrance, there is a stage for assemblies and all kind of performances.

Further north, a grass island opens out the paved areas and connects the succinct surfaces on one side whilst rising the surfaces by 60 centimetres on the opposite side, and hereby creating a new and central meeting point. The forecourt of the canteen was unsealed and transformed into a large relaxation area with sun loungers and grass strips, and a “green outdoor classroom”. In the existing tree grove a “Walk of Fame” of the Abitur memorials (Note: Abitur is the university-entrance diploma from German secondary school) is gradually being created. The new secluded balcony with sun loungers offers the opportunity to relax and to observe the surrounding nature, and clematis and perennial plantings frame this somewhat secluded place. Low-maintenance grass and perennial plantings as well as flowering plants complement the existing plantings and set distinct accents.

The peripheries
At the peripheries of the school grounds along the street Max-Planck-Straße, the surfaces of the teacher parking lots were renewed. A grass bed planting with flowering plants highlight the entrance to the school building. The area surrounding the auditorium was also paved anew. A selective clearing of the existing greenery now turns the auditorium into a friendly, light-flooded room. Small-crowned flowering plants with a seasonal aspect add a splash of colour.

The new waste storage area at Max-Planck-Straße is surrounded by a hornbeam hedge. The surfaces of the driveway towards Building B were renewed, partially unsealed and supplemented with new lawns. The existing planting was selectively supplemented by spring aspect planting.

Project category: Schools and Playgrounds
Role of the entrant in the project: Landscape Architect
Project location: Max-Planck-Straße, 45768 Marl, Germany
Design year: 2016 – 2018
Year Built: 2018 – 2019


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