Co-designing an outdoor workshop
Location: Gadehave School, Høje-Taastrup, Denmark
Client: Danish Art Foundation, Area Renewal Høje-Taastrup
Service: Placemaking, Consensus Building & Engagement
Role: Engagement proces, Designing and building
Year: Aug 2016 – Jun 2017
From the spring until early summer 2017, arki_lab worked in close collaboration with teachers and students at Gadehaveskolen to design and build an outdoor workshop. The objective was to transform a vacant outdoor space into an integrated part of the existing indoor workshops and invite locals to use the workshop after school hours. The space was inaugurated with a big opening of the new outdoor space, where the whole school and local area was invited.
Developing a design integrated into existing spaces
Students from 4th- and 5th grade identified and analyzed the vacant area, developing various design proposals for the new outdoor workshop. This workshop would be an extension of the existing indoor workshops that are used for crafts and design courses as well as a bike repair shop. In order to connect the outdoor space to the existing workshops, the students conducted interviews with different stakeholders. This activity supported school subjects such as communication, but also strengthened the students' democratic education and empathy skills.
Revitalization of a socially vulnerable area
Even though the workshop is built inside the school’s perimeters, the project is inscribed in a much larger context, engaging with more than just students. The workshop is part of Høje-Taastrup Municipality’s effort to revitalize the neighborhood. It's goal is to connect the school to it’s surrounding area, opening up the workshop space for locals to utilize . The vision is for the workshop to function as a catalyst for collaboration across different age and social groups, hence making it a vibrant and active space both during and after school hours.
Customized teaching materials
This project differs from our earlier collaborations with schools as we’ve only facilitated one third of the workshops. The teachers undertook the majority of the workshops. For this reason we’ve developed customized teaching materials which were used interactively throughout the process. Materials consisted of process overviews, explanations about architecture and design, various exercises, empty text boxes and diagrams, which were filled, cut out and glued onto a big pin board. The pin board would eventually demonstrate both the overall process and a design solution, thus functioning as a brilliant educational tool to show the students their own progress.
Sustainable design in process, development and final product
Sustainability played a big role in the project. Involving the students in developing their own surroundings created a sense of ownership towards the project, ensuring it's social sustainability. The final design was entirely constructed out of recycled materials, which increased the students awareness of sustainable processes and materials. Junckers supplied 1.5 cubic metre of second choice oakwood flooring and Egerbyg A/S has donated leftover wood. Furthermore we took down yellow poles from an unused areas around the school, giving them new life in the workshop space. They function as racks for fixing bikes, but also bring color into the overall environment. The final design product consists of six islands with divers furniture, made out of metal poles and wood that could facilitate and accommodate various activities.
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