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 Ålholm skole

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.

Skulpturen "Synssansen" er udført af rumdesigner Unni Johnsen.
Mogens Bøggild: 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.

Skulpturen "Lugtesansen" er udført af billedhugger Thomas Kristensen. Skulpturen "Smagssansen" er udført af kulturhåndværker Henrik C. Andersen og konservator Francesca Isbrand. Omkring den er plantet solbærbuske

Skulpturen "Synssansen" er udført af rumdesigner Unni Johnsen.
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.

 © Helle Nebelong

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