Naturalization of Montseny School’s courtyard

  • start  March 2018
  • promoter   Montseny school
  • place   Vallcarca, Barcelona

self-construction workshop, transfroamtion of educational spaces

The project to transform and improve the exterior spaces of the Montseny School has been carried out in two phases. The first was a participatory process (year 2018) where the work was done to diagnose the problems and needs of the entire educational community for the overall design of the different environments in outer space. The second phase (2019) has been focused on the one hand, in the preparation of a technical document of previous studies that serves as a roadmap for a reform of the outer space faithful to the will of the school and on the other hand, in the installation of a game structure built between them.

The participative process of the first phase was divided into three parts: a first diagnostic work with the Fil a l'agulla collective, a second design proposal from the most global transformation to small-scale intervention; and finally a collective construction.

During the diagnosis, we worked to collect all the voices of the community, families, teachers and children, from a gender perspective, to know what cohabitation is in the courtyard: what spaces are the most used, detect inequalities and which ones are the dynamics of relationships between students. The opinion of families was also collected through surveys and observations were made on the yard activities by teachers and facilitators.

The design part was structured in different sessions with two groups, the adult motor group (teachers and families) and the children's motor group. Through different dynamics with plans and models of the courtyard, the main objectives of the transformation and the areas of intervention have been reached. This phase has ended with the production of a base plan with the spaces where to act and some ideas of the proposals for change. The different actions that the project includes are based on three key concepts: accessibility, nature and diversity. The actions respond to the following main objectives:

    Turn the school's outdoor space into an accessible space, looking for new accessible paths that connect the different yard areas.

    Naturalize the outdoor space, opening up the most natural space in the courtyard to allow play and experiment with nature as a learning channel.

    Promote diversity through play and activities in the playground to break segregation by age and gender, reduce dominant spaces and games and open up new possibilities.

The third action of this phase of the project has been the carrying out of a few days on the construction of wooden benches to form an amphitheater. The purpose of this structure is to occupy areas of the courtyard, such as the court, with other types of movement beyond the expansive one, as well as allow spaces for quiet chatting. The conference has been open to all families and teachers.

Finally, in 2019 the second phase was performed. Through some participatory sessions with children, teachers and families, the already agreed interventions of the transformation of the playground have been worked out in more depth. In addition, a technical document of previous studies has been prepared, composed of a report of the whole process, an approximate budget and the graphic documentation necessary to explain the project.

The proposal for the transformation and refurbishment of the patio has been made from a feminist point of view, taking into account all the voices and diversity. The design proposed by the new playground demands a new accessible path to the outside, to enjoy most points of the patio, and aims to incorporate more nature and permeable soils with the idea of ​​naturalizing and promoting play in healthier and more natural environments. To complete this phase, the new element of the wooden benches has been installed and certified so that children can enjoy the transformation from the very beginning.

The photographs of the structure have been made per arbe .

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