For whom: Ankara BBOM Meraklı Kedi Elementary School
With whom: Students, parents and teachers of Meraklı Kedi Elementary School, volunteers and university students
In 2015 and 2016, we carried out design and construction works for the renovation of the garden of Meraklı Kedi Elementary School, in the light of democratic and ecological values owned by the school with the participation of school students, cooperative member parents, teachers, university students and volunteers. In the meantime, the products of these works have continued their life, differentiated or some of them were no longer in the garden. Some of these ideas, which we had foresee to be transformed with experiences, could not be realized due to lack of time and financial resources. In the discussions we started at the end of 2018 with the school for the works in the spring of 2019, in addition to the deficiencies form the the past, new deficiencies and requests that emerged over time came up. Each change required was a topic that pupils and teachers discussed and agreed at regular assembly meetings.
After our interviews and our field visit on January 18, we decided to start design with a workshop as in previous stages. In addition to the 5 members of ours, 6 architects, industrial designers and city planners from different universities participated in this workshop which took place on 2-3 March. You can find our article about the design workshop where in the first day students produce ideas with models and in the second day we discuss the scenarios that come to the fore.
After the design workshop, we made a division of works between us and continued the design process through online meetings. Prior to the design workshop, requests from the school were limited to three points for applicability, taking into account their time and resource status. However, in accordance with the decision we made in the light of the ideas that came out in the design workshop, and in order to take a holistic approach, we proposed to improve the current situation and to make new arrangements for 11 points connected together in a scenario. We have tried to respond to the students’ demand to create a seating area for their courses and assemblies in the open area with the suggestion that the construction of the open kitchen together with the tire set, converting the staircase into an amphitheater, repairing the tire set and making wooden seating platforms. We decided to enlarge the tree house, which is just above this sitting area and which the students use a lot, with a third and higher elevation. When we extended from the set to the garden area, we offered idle hammocks along the borders of the site, the addition of seats to the vegetable beds, a play structure and a mini-sand pool. From the mini-sand pool to the corridor between the school building and the refectory, we designed linear play designs on the floor, and called the corridor as adventure corridor ile with moving surfaces on the floor and sound pipes on the wall and connecting to the backyard. We have developed suggestions for strengthening the existing sandbox structure in the backyard, adding ropes and play surfaces, and closing the exposed natural gas pipe and manhole cover. We thought that the area behind the sandbox, which is connecting to the front garden, as a multi-purpose playground. Here you can find the booklet that also contains our suggestions for garden planting along with these suggestions.
After the completion of the design studies and the search for resources, we realized the construction workshop with our members, design workshop participants, BBOM parents, teachers and volunteers on May 18-21. The four main productions of the workshop were the conversion of the staircase in the set to amphitheater, the construction of the adventure corridor floor and the sandbox structure and the enlargement of the tree house. For the staircase amplifier, we removed and repaired the surfaces of the junk pallets and put them back into the amplifier without blanks. For the undulating floor in the adventure corridor, we created a timber frame and mounted two 4 mm plywood on it. We created a new structure from impregnated wood for the sandbox and put it in its’ place. We made a set 20 cm higher again from impregnated wood in the tree house and connected it to the second set with a small opening and to the first set with a bridge. We worked very intense, but we were unable to finish some jobs and left them to the people in the school to complete. These were iron pipes to be mounted on the walls of the adventure corridor, ropes and nets to be attached to the sandbox and tree house, reinforcement of rubber sets and manhole closure tires with soil filling, linear play designs, sanding and varnish works. Likewise, the assembly of the counter and shelves for the open kitchen prepared before the workshop was left to be done after the workshop. The multi-purpose playground that we envisaged for the backyard was realized by covering the carpet field floor before the construction workshop. Other than the ones that were built and what was left after, the structure of the game, the idle hammocks and the mini sand pool were the constructions that were backed off from realizing for now. These designs can also be applied if requested by the school in the future.
We would like to thank all BBOM Ankara family who warmly welcomed us this year like every year and shared our mental and physical labor together.
Here you can find the photo album of the project.
Design and construction workshop participants:
Aurélie Henry, Ataberk Yılmaz, Cansu Dinç, Emre Gündoğdu, Ezgi Arzum Ön, Gülsüm Demirok, Hatice Kübra Öztürk, Hazal Güner, Merve Gül Özokcu, Mina Öner, Sıla Yılmaz, Yağmur Kutlar, Yeşim Alpaydın, Meraklı Kedi Elementary School students, teachers, employees, parents and volunteers