- Taktik Design has redesigned the Sainte-Anne schoolyard
Children are usually sitting inside closed classrooms during their lessons, so when recess comes around, it’s important for them to get some exercise and fresh air to clear their heads and be rested and be ready for the next lesson. Games and play during the breaks are an enjoyable distraction from their academic work, but they also serve to improve social interaction and to foster the students’ physical coordination.
It’s safe to say that the situation at the small Sainte-Anne primary school located in the neighbourhood of Rosemont, Montreal was not quite like the norm: here the Canadian firm Taktik Design had already given the indoor classrooms and educational areas a makeover a few years ago, putting to the forefront the fundamental part played by the environments for the physical and psychological wellbeing of the students(link).
The school governors then decided that the outdoor spaces needed to be just as stimulating and versatile as indoors and they contacted Taktik Design again. So the studio presented a radical transformation of the school courtyard, an entirely asphalted area with no identity of its own.
The first thing they did in the process of transformation was to add a large multi-sports field that includes a running track. This area is enclosed by safety fencing and there is a basketball court right next to it. These new playing and learning fields mean the kids can let off steam during their breaks. The schoolyard is also used for PE classes, making it an integral part of the school curriculum.
Considerable effort went into incorporating greenery into the yard. There’s a green area where students can just hang out and relax. Here they can meet up and play inside the wooden huts, which have now become a new place where students can learn through play.
This zone also has some colourful concrete seating - enough for a whole class and their teacher so they can also hold lessons outside in the fresh air. In another corner of the schoolyard redesigned by Taktik Studio is a planted area with crushed brick covering the ground to reduce the islands of heat. This zone can be used for horticulture lessons so the children can learn how to grow plants and tend to a garden. Here there is also a custom Douglas fir table designed with a bench seat on one side only so the young students can work on their plantings while standing.
To complete the transformation of the schoolyard, whole sections of the school’s brick walls were painted a sunny, positive colour. This choice of colour and the use of dynamic shapes and angles break up the classical, straight and static lines of the architecture. The new schoolyard at Sainte-Anne’s primary school has become an extension of the school building, an educational area that fosters movement, curiosity, exploration and the cognitive development of each and every student.
Project: Taktik Design - https://www.taktikdesign.com/
Location: Rosemont, Montreal
Project manager: Cynthia Papineau
Collaborator: Nicola Tardif-Bourdages
Designer: Cynthia Papineau & Quentin Veron
Photograph: Maxime Brouillet