We look at the site of Gävlehov as a meeting place, not only for sport professionals and sport lovers coming from Gävle and the surrounding, but as a site that is activated as a binding element in a growing city process. Although Gävlehov is surrounded by woods and roads, it is obviously not located in an isolated location. Namely, it is situated in-between two relatively big neighbourhoods that together house for about 16,000 people: Sätra and Stigslund.
In this project I’m focusing on the idea of the “neighbour”, the role of the neighbourhood as a place for meeting with neighbours, using the Gavlehov ground and activities connected to the place. As Gavlehov sits between Sätra and Stigslund: it is a ‘courtyard’, a middle ground, where neighbours meet and discuss their everyday issues. Such issues can be relevant not only for individuals meeting each other, but could have an influence and stimulate a wider discussion in our society today.
Within the last year we (project team) have been meeting various people from Gavlehov neighbourhood. The 3 neighbouring elementary schools (Stora Sätraskolan, Stigslunds skola and Prolympia) have been the most frequent discussion partner and the students participated at several workshops. Together we have been thinking and talking about the future of our society, and in reflection the future of this area as well. The general public could follow the process of our project on our blog: http://neighbours-citizens.org/ as well as everyone was welcome to drop in.
We decided that a lot is going on already in Gavlehov in relation to sport activities. Therefore the students proposed something that might make them passive, non-active, observant and attentive but still being able to meet each other.
We proposed several platforms spread all around Gavlehov site:
- APPLE TREE ORCHARD
- SAND PIT
- GARDEN HOUSE
- GRILL PLACE
- MEETING BENCH
However our concept is not only proposing the meeting platforms but as well the MAINTENANCE PLAN related to those urban elements, which is based on the idea of working together. Neighbours and others would meet at this place, would get engaged with the place using the facilities and also being able to take care of the place.
For example: if one would want to play Beach Volleyball in the SAND PIT this would be possible to do with some common engagement as well as creating an ICE SKATING RING from the SAND PIT in the winter, the community would have to be activated. For each of the proposed elements there will be a group of people who will get engaged with it and will be able to activate it.
Taking care together of a place that serves to a specific community has a long tradition in Sweden. The most obvious time / place is a Midsummer Celebration when the communities who are celebrating the day together also prepare the celebration together; building the maypole (midsommarstång) together, bringing food to share, playing music and singing.
In relation to the art context we should be reminded of a MAINTENANCE ART Manifesto that
Mierle Laderman Ukeles proposed back in 70ties. Where the artist created several performances related to the maintenance of the public space trying to change some of the negative connotations produced in the public sphere, using her art as an agent of change to challenge conventional stereotypes related to maintenance work. She is critically addressing the idea of a “pure individual creation” “the new” and “the change”.
In our project I would like to suggest expanding the notion of maintenance work into the community engagement where people meet through a not profitable work that is only directed to creating a condition of the symbolic value – being together and enjoying the leisure time.
Therefore we need to emphasize that this project is proposing a specific MAINTENANCE PLAN as part of the project that would stimulate the community of neighbors and others to take care of the place. However this needs to be agreed between the Gävle Municipality and the Neighbors.
DESIGN AND MAINTENANCE PROPOSAL
1. APPLE TREE ORCHARD
We are proposing to plant 48 apple trees that will be taken care by the 3 neighbouring schools (Stora Sätraskolan, Stigslunds skola and Prolympia) in cooperation with Gävle Municipality. The schools could develop within their curriculums a space for working with the orchard – as practical nature education – meeting with local gardener, working in the orchard, cutting branches, picking up apples etc.
Once per year the 3 schools should create a common event – picking up apples and performing the processing of the fruit (making apple juice, apple pie or similar) as main community celebration event.
MAINTENANCE PLAN: We are proposing to sign an APPLE TREE ORCHARD AGREEMENT about the proposed yearly event and the maintenance education program during the school year.
2. SAND PIT = BEACH VOLLEYBALL = ICE SKATING RING
We are proposing a huge sand pit that can be changed in the summer into a temporary beach valley ball and in the winter into the ice skating ring. The place is designed as a meeting point for public of all ages, race and social background. We would like to think of this place as a place for possibilities where one can chill out, play in the sand or engage with beach volleyball in the summer and ice-skating in the winter.
MAINTENANCE PLAN: A group of people who would be interested in ice-skating should be able to create hand made ice ring surface when the conditions are right (-0 C). Here we would like to call in Gävle Hockey club and local fireman brigade for advice and help.
The general maintenance of the sand pit and wooden platform needs to be done by the Gävle city.
3. GARDEN HOUSE = SKIING HOUSE = PARTY HOUSE
Since we could not get the FUTURO house to be placed in Gavlehov we propose a simple pavilion type of structure to be placed on location G2 to provide a public roof as a shelter for people who will be gardening at Gavlehov orchard – as a storage space for tools, people who are skiing, in case of bad weather, or as a party place for students from the 3 neighbouring schools.
The Garden House has a roof, bench and a storage space where we suggest providing a possibility to get electricity and water source.
(The Garden House is not a priority in our budget therefore we can only build it if there is money left for it after making the APPLE TREE ORCHARD and SAND PIT).
MAINTENANCE PLAN: There should be a general Self – Maintenance Rules where every user of the place cleans after him/herself. However more specific maintenance of the place might be assigned to Gavlehov organization that would also keep the key of the storage space for gardening tools that are going to be shared with the 3 schools when they decide to place their education activities in Gavlehov.
4. GRILL PLACE
There are two grill places situated next to the Garden House. Each of them is equipped with a wooden circular bench and a metal grill. The circular bench is a closed circle – similar to the sand pit. To enter the space one need to turn off one “entrance” element. The grill places are literally set into the grass; the path leading to the grill space is only indicated by cement tiles set into the grass.
MAINTENANCE PLAN: There should be a general Self – Maintenance Rules where every user of the place cleans after him/herself. However more specific maintenance of the place might be assigned to Gavlehov organization and Gävle Municipality.
5. MEETING BENCH
With the students from the tree schools we were discussing the entrance to Gavlehov Arena and the ideas were mainly touching upon a place where one can “seat down and wait for a friend to show up”.
Therefore we would propose a circular element – bench – platform as for the sand pit however smaller dimensions to be designed for this place. In the middle of the circle we would plan tree apple trees – reproduced from the apple tree in Sofia Parken, Gävle to commemorate the unfortunate event in Gävle concerning the apple tree in 2016.
MAINTENANCE PLAN: Meeting bench might be adopted as a street element by the fans of the Gävle IF – football club as a gesture that the host offers to their guests: “seat down and relax!” Would it be possible to think that they would take care of this street element when it will get damaged? The bench would have the name of the donator engraved into the wooden profiles similar to a park bench being donated from a private person to the city.
1.APPLE TREE ORCHARD:
48 apple trees, distance in-between 6 m, the ground is grass + earth – no extra edge or border! This is an orchard with suitable grass ground.
We would like to plant the trees ourselves with the pupils from the tree schools as a day event. For that we need to have prepared ground and holes on the raster as it is shown in our site plan.
2. SAND PIT = BEACH VOLLEYBALL = ICE SKATING RING:
The sand pit is round, diameter = 25 m, to fit in the beach volleyball playground. It has an edge of a concrete foundation wall (10 cm) on which is placed a wooden construction (svensk lärkträ) for a platform. The wooden platform serves as seating or laying down element, like a sundeck. On the sunny side it has variable section that propose a sundeck beds.
Beach Volley ball playground is temporary – used only in the summer (May – September). Therefore we propose NOT to build permanent vertical supports for the net but prepare the foundation elements in the ground (mark with dots) where one can sit in the temporary construction for the beach volleyball net.
The sand pit needs a water source on the side for the installation for the showers in the summer as well as making the ice in the winter.
3. GARDEN HOUSE = SKIING HOUSE = PARTY HOUSE:
Is a pavilion type of structure build as a wooden construction (svensk lärkträ) covered by the roof (LEXAN – plexi glass). It has a round shape – diameter 9m, with the roof around 3m and 3 m centre space in the middle not covered.
The Garden house is 3 m high, 3m wide and is build in a circle. The vertical wooden construction we propose is 7.5 / 12.5 cm profile and horizontal beams of the same dimension. The secondary construction is 7.5 / 7.5 cm and 5 / 5 cm.
There is a wooden bench and a storage space made from the same wood placed under the roof and attached on the outer circle of the structure. In the storage space there is an electricity plug and a water pipe (locked).
4. GRILL PLACE
Here we would just like to suggest the round shape of benches designed from the same wood (svensk lärkträ) in the same principle as the sand pit platform with a round metal BBQ place in the middle .
5. MEETING BENCH
This is a circular wooden bench (svensk lärkträ), 60 cm wide, 45 cm high – various hights. The circle is 13 m in diameter with a space in the middle where we would suggest to plant additional tree “Sofia apple trees”.
 The role of the artist for Ukeles is that of an activist: empowering people to act and change societal values and norms. This agenda stems from a feminist concern with challenging the privileged and gendered notion of the independent artist. For Ukeles, art is not fixed and complete but an ongoing process that is connected to everyday life and her Manifesto for Maintenance Art proclaims the infection of art by everyday mundane activities. The gargantuan domestic actions that she performed primarily became inaugurated out of her role as artist and mother in the 70s. After the birth of her first child in 1968, Ukeles believes that her public identity as an artist slipped into second place, because of the public perception of the role of a mother.