Sustainable rainwater management for sports fields
All in one: play, sports and rest area - How to implement different needs in a very small space
The school grounds which cover an area of around 6,900 square metres were planned by the Munich-based company adlerolesch LANDSCHAFTSARCHITEKTEN München GmbH. The construction was completed in 2018. The costs amounted to 1,022 million euros gross. The outdoor facilities of the new primary school II on Fürholzer Weg in Neufahrn near Freising are characterised by a multifunctional design. The area is subdivided into five different "courtyards".
The entrance area is open to the public and forms the first courtyard. This entrance courtyard, with its inviting seating platforms and its natural shading through tree plantings, is completely car-free and thus offers pupils direct and safe access to their school from the adjacent bus stop. The large seating platforms on this forecourt are made of prefabricated concrete elements in anthracite and wooden supports of Douglas fir. The strong colour contrast between the light-coloured paving and the dark-coloured seating platforms clearly highlights them and makes it easy for people with visual impairments to recognise them.
In the entrance area, students are offered a parking system that is perfectly adapted to their needs. To prevent wild parking of bicycles and scooters, there are sufficient parking spaces for bicycles as well as modern lockable scooter stands for scooters. This makes it possible for students without a bicycle licence to park their scooters safely in the courtyard. The majority of these parking spaces are roofed and thus protected from rain and snow.
The large break area is located in the centre of the school grounds and is bordered by the façades of the new school building, the old primary school and the surrounding properties. It is thus protected on all sides, fenced in and car-free.
The central playground is directly accessible from the school buildings and the canteen. Here, a floor covering of sand-coloured asphalt was chosen, which offers the children safe play areas due to its slip resistance. Similar to the entrance area, trees have been planted here as furnishing elements which contribute to natural shading. In addition, the generous tree grates are planted with species-rich perennials and partly supplemented with seating areas. The tree plantings can create a pleasant microclimate in this part of the central courtyard for the students in summer and thus serve as a valuable recreational area. In addition, the planting areas and tree pits ensure natural retention of rainwater in the schoolyard. This considerably reduces the amount of drained rainwater. Thus, the water can be used for the plants instead.
The playground leads into the smaller parcelled "garden courtyard", which offers the children a varied play area with hiding places thanks to different surfaces and hedge plantings. There are also larger wooden decks between the woody plants inviting the children to linger. The pupils are provided with resting areas between the hedge plantings where they can relax during their breaks. Here, too, the planting areas were created in a way which allows the natural retention of rainwater. The surfacing at the back of the garden courtyard consists of wood chips, which provide the necessary fall protection properties as well as a water-permeable layer, so that no connection of the surfacing areas to the sewage system is necessary.
In the sports courtyard, there is a running track made of green EPDM surface that ends in a long jump area with sand at one end of the running track. This running track provides the school with an ideal opportunity to hold outdoor school sports directly at the school. In addition, the children can use this area during break times to let off steam and, if necessary, practise for the next physical education class.
The spacious green courtyard across the street also provides lots of fun and games. There is also a large playground on which various playground devices have been installed that encourage the children to play together, including, for example, balancing logs, wooden rotating logs, basketball hoops and much more. A great advantage of the green low court is also the noise reduction for the surrounding residential area. Here, children can let off steam freely without disturbing the residents.
The highlight of this green courtyard for many pupils is the challenging climbing wall. A spiderweb-like network of strong ropes which are anchored to the wall and in the ground form an exciting climbing opportunity, which is equipped with various additional materials such as rubber mats, blocks and plastic plates. An EPDM covering in two different colours was chosen here as fall protection. In the front area, where there is access to the fall protection surface from the lawn, light green colours were used. The clear edge between the lawn and the EPDM surfacing is thus visible here, although it is visually perceived as a common surface. For the rear area, a colour-contrasting EPDM fall protection of dark blue was chosen, which rises towards the wall. This highly visible transition visually highlights the surface, making it easier to assess the height when climbing.
There is also a bouldering wall for students who want to try a more difficult climbing option. The EPDM coating that continues on this surface ensures that the daring climbers can safely land at the bottom again after climbing the wall.
In the transition area from the playground above to the green courtyard below, there are both stairs and a slide for the children. To the left and right of the slide, an artificial slope was modelled to make the transition from the top to the bottom accessible. Again, a dark blue EPDM surface was chosen for this purpose, so that the pupils can immediately climb the "hill" again after sliding down.
Another way to overcome the height difference between the two levels is to use the openings in the wall. Through these openings, the children can climb up or down directly over the climbing net.
The entire grounds of the playground are designed barrier-free so that all areas can be accessed and used by people with disabilities. In order to bridge the difference in height from the upper to the lower part of the grounds in a barrier-free way, a barrier-free pathway has been created through which all areas of the courtyard can be reached.
In order to protect the existing trees on this site and to be able to integrate them into the new design, they were carefully protected during the overall construction work. In this way, the existing trees could be preserved and shape the overall appearance of the schoolyard.
Another challenge was the implementation of the construction work during the ongoing school operation. Here it was particularly important to ensure that the construction site could not be accessed by children and that the noise pollution during lessons was kept as low as possible.
The successful connection of the different areas creates a lively and artistic playground which meets the requirements of play, sports and rest areas thanks to its successful design. The diverse use of the schoolyard is an outstanding feature of the primary school in Neufahrn near Freising.