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From Schoolyard to CHILLspORT: Young People Design Their Living Space

NEBourhoods Jugendkultur Neuperlach

June 2024. Developed and built together with the pupils, the "CHILLspORT" on the forecourt of the Mittelschule am Gerhart-Hauptmann Ring is far more than just a meeting place for children and young people. It stands for the positive experience of self-efficacy through the opportunity to actively participate in the design of our public space. And the associated sensitisation to their surroundings.

The "CHILLspORT" is one of three interventions in public space that were created as part of the NEB Action "PEARL – Places for Youth Culture" by architect and urban theorist Prof. Andrea Benze and students from HM University of Applied Sciences, stage and costume designer Janina Sieber and theatre educator Elke Bauer from the Münchner Kammerspiele.
The starting point was a joint search with young people from Neuperlach for places in the neighbourhood where youth culture takes place and could or should take place. Through conversations, participatory observations, games and discussions, a precise picture of the everyday lives and needs of children and young people emerged.

The young people at the Mittelschule am Gerhart-Hauptmann-Ring, for example, wanted a place to "chill out", to hang out with friends – in a place where things are happening.

But what exactly does a place like this actually need?

Together with the PEARL team, the architecture students from Munich University of Applied Sciences and the team from Raumfragen Neuperlach, Adrian Sölch and Raphael Krome, the pupils in class 10v1 and their teacher Laura Schalay designed and developed ideas and built them on a real-life scale. Through activist construction, joint design and performance, the elements of the "CHILLspORT" were created in co-creative workshops. that make it possible to chill out where something is happening. They are both a protected observer position and a stage, open to all.

Performative experience of the urban space

The pupils trialled the large models in performance workshops with director Demjan Duran and discussed them with headmistress Tatjana Pringsheim. The concrete examination of the urban space not only resulted in the final design, which the pupils enthusiastically built themselves with the support of the architecture students at the end of June. They also created a performance in which they combined their stories, moods and emotions with the new conditions: Using music, body and language, the group creates an image of their reality. "Stimmungsschwankungen", the name of the performance, was performed as part of the inauguration of the "CHILLspORT" on 28 June 2024.

Opening up and activating the schoolyard

The "CHILLspORT" now reactivates the forecourt of the school: the spiral-shaped wooden structure was built on top of the existing, disused fountain. Its blue and red painting winds its way into the square and traces a streetball field on the paving. The previously rarely used basketball hoop is thus reactivated and the two mobile seating elements can be moved here for spectators to watch.

The project not only made it possible to test new approaches and learning processes for the various participants - from universities, schools, administration and the creative industries. It also gave the City of Munich the opportunity to gain further experience in opening up school playgrounds. As part of the city's "From Schoolyard to Playground" project, which was launched in 1993 and confirmed by the city council in 2022, schoolyards are to be opened up outside of school hours. Schoolyard areas are also to be unsealed and near-natural schoolyards with more green spaces are to be created. This project is to be promoted in the city centre in particular. Opening up school playgrounds not only creates space for more playtime fun. It also makes an important contribution to improving the urban climate (further information on the website of the City of Munich).

In addition to the "CHILLspORT", the "Ciné Velo Cité" mobile bicycle cinema and the "FeedBack Neuperlach" audio walk were also created.


THEMES
Places for youth culture • Self-efficacy • Opening up school playgrounds • (Re)activation of squares

PARTICIPANTS
• Prof. Andrea Benze, Janina Sieber, architecture students / Munich University of Applied Sciences
• Elke Bauer / Münchner Kammerspiele
• Demjan Duran
• Patrik Thomas
• Martín Valdés-Stauber
• Florian Mayr, Torsten Müller / Stadtteilmanagement Neuperlach
• Dr. Michael Dross / HM:UniverCity

"PEARL - Developing Places for Youth Culture" builds on several years of collaboration between Munich University of Applied Sciences and the Münchner Kammerspiele and was brought from idea to realisation in close cooperation and with the support of the NEBourhoods Transition Hub and the neighbourhood and Stadtteilmanagement Neuperlach.

Picture credits: NEBourhoods/HM:UniverCity, Gabriella Guzman