Co-designing an outdoor classroom

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Location: Vesterbro Ungdomsgård, Copenhagen, Denmark
Client: Vesterbro Ungdomsgård and The Danish Arts Foundation
Type: Urban Interventions, Citizen Involvement, Urban Design
Status: Ongoing
Work Scope: Monthly workshops


In this project, we worked with a group of children from an after-school activity centre to formulate a design intervention for their facilities. We have run a series of workshops that led the children through the different stages of the design process, teaching them how to engage with their local environment and giving them the confidence and the ability to make improvements to it.

The initial sessions were focused on the analysis of the existing site, finding out what activities were possible in its current state and what was missing to enable more diverse use of the space. Motivating the children to start thinking critically naturally led onto to the creative stages of the process, brainstorming on the many possibilities that could provide solutions, meanwhile developing their ability to communicate these ideas visually through drawing and collage.

Once the design idea had been decided on and tested in scale models, it was time to build full size prototypes. The idea – crates that could be stacked, moved around easily and used for anything from urban gardening boxes to a stage to a skateboarding feature – was tested out at the Ungdomsgård’s
Easter Festival for which we had a collection of around 20 models made. It was here the young designers were able to see how a mixed group of people interacted with their design, stacking the boxes together to make a cozy seating area.

Experiencing this 1:1 relationship is an important step in our method and philosophy as now the design team is able to truly visualize how their ideas translate to ‘real’ life situations.


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