From an asphalt desert to a lions court
This project was for a local community school - built in 1934
- for 650 children between six and 16 years of age. The school
yard is open outside school hours - the gate is never locked
– but it was one big asphalt desert with a lost lion in
the middle. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that
the lion was in fact an old granite drinking well made by a
famous Danish sculptor in the 1930s.
“The lion has to go!” said the headmaster, to
which I replied that: “The lion is the only thing worth
keeping!” I had already started to think about distant
Spanish gardens – especially The Lion’s Court
in Alhambra - and I knew immediately that the lion was genius
loci. Many of the teachers applauded, as they too liked the
lion and the children obviously cared since when one of them
saw the diggers start to eat their way through the school
yard’s asphalt, he shouted out in panic: “Oh!
Where is the nice lion!? So the whole school yard then developed
around the lion.
Løvebrønd (a lion's fountain), 1934
The pupils’ school council held a competition for
suggestions on how the school yard should look like in
the future, involving all the classes.
A theme that came up in many suggestions was that the school yard should be
greener with more hideaway places, more meeting places and more activity spaces.
When the renovation of the school yard began, the children
themselves planted a grove of plane trees around the
lion sculpture – 26 trees in all – one
for each class. They have all survived since they were planted five years ago,
so it seems safe to conclude, that the children watch over and take care of
the trees because they were involved in the planting.
The rest of the school
yard was thematically transformed into a South Atlantic sea
playground with scattered ”remains” of
a shipwreck spread all over the area, which one can run in
between, hang in and relax on - which some of the older children
especially like to do.