LI and Canary Wharf collaboration inspires primary children and schools to engage with landscape architecture

First Playground Project winner announced

Manorfield Primary School, working with landscape architect Atkins, has become the first winner of funding from a new playground improvement initiative run by the LI in association with the Canary Wharf Group.

The East London primary school will receive £5,000 from the Playground Project to make improvements to its grounds, including a new outdoor classroom and a living wall, which can be used as part of the science curriculum.

Neil Hutchins, from landscape architect Atkins, worked with students at the school to gather their ideas and convert them into a proposal, helping them measure the space and draw bird’s-eye view plans.

The judges praised Manorfield’s simple yet effective design to enhance the school site and provide a valuable learning resource for the children; the impressive model, which shows how children were involved throughout the design process; the degree of collaboration between pupils and landscape architect to create an interesting yet realistic design; and the fact that the project had inspired the school to consult students in future grand development projects.

Highly commended schools

Two other local schools were highly commended: Halley Primary School, working with John Goldwyn vice president of WATG , and Lansbury Lawrence Primary School, working with Hanna Salomonsson from Enfield Council. Also taking part were William Davis Primary School with Christopher Moss of Earthenware Landscape Architects Ltd; Harry Gosling Primary School with Mark Stefan of Design with Nature; Cubitt Town Junior School with Claudia Ferrai of Atkins; and Stebon Primary School working with Emma Reed of HLM Architects.

All of the participating LI members have now been awarded ‘Ambassador for Landscape’ in recognition of their hard work inspiring the students and raising the profile of the profession.

Poppy Smith, LI education development officer and chair of the judging panel said: ‘The pupils worked collaboratively to create a simple yet effective design to enhance their school, claiming back an uninspiring and underwhelming space. Once completed it will provide a valuable learning resource for the children. The pupils can now appreciate this area as a space in which they can start their lunch break in a calm and reflective mood. We also loved how the project has stimulated the school to consult students further on future developments.’

Ailsa Lawson, year 4 teacher at Manorfield, said: “This project had a really positive effect on the class as a whole, the children were able learn a new set of skills including analysing and evaluating the positives and negatives of an outdoor space and learning and using the architectural symbols to create their own plan.

The landscape architect who worked with us had a positive relationship with the children and they couldn’t wait for him to return on Wednesday afternoons.”

The Playground Project

The Playground Project is a new educational competition aimed at connecting landscape architecture to primary school audiences, inspiring schools to develop their outdoor environments, and helping pupils to explore and better understand their outdoor space. For more information visit the LI website.

LI members interested in taking part in the Playground Project next year should contact Poppy Smith at poppy.smith@landscapeinstitute.org.

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