GS75open spaces residential building Geschwister Scholl Straße, Potsdam, (DE), 2016 preliminary design 2015 realized 2016 (1st phase)The closing of the urban block on the neighbouring property requires the reconfiguration of the yard. Unfortunately, the larger part of the yard’s surface has to be paved to meet fire safety regulations. The remaining areas are designed as condensed areas for planting and play. Concurrently the garden side of the property is redesigned for play and communal enjoyment.The concept is based on the clear distinction of character of the two separate exterior spaces yard and garden. The respective use of material aims to respect and recreate as far as possible the green character of the existing situation – and that of the larger urban context. The garden is characterized by a quiet atmosphere, while the yard features a more communicative ambience. The materiality is accordingly differentiated.The garden features a green lawn surface and a direct visual relationship with the neighbouring creek. A small paved square with a large sand box doubles as play area and communal meeting zone. It simultaneously serves as a seating opportunity. The yellow bricks on the garden side play a special role as a ‘signature’ material that ties the long garden corridor together, while catering to different functions. Already used in the (‘historic’) reconstruction of the cellar shafts and alignment along the façade, they are also used to build the staircases that give access to the garden. Slightly extended and combined with a (small) square, these landings serve as a kind of garden furniture in itself (for play, sitting, placing potted plants, etc.). The yellow brick is also used to pave the terrace of the potentially private garden of the small annex building. The annex building is allocated a private garden in the back, but also an entrance zone in front.Except for the extensive lawn, the planting in the garden is kept minimal. Along the fence existing shrubs create a somewhat protected spatiality towards the adjacent creek and public path.The design of the yard answers in large part to the requirement of trafficability by the fire department. It, however, coincides with the more communicative access functionality of the yard that gives access to five staircases. In the yard it is the paving material that will be the most conspicuous player. The existing material is reused; in the case of the mosaic pavers also reacting to heritage questions.As a measure to keep as much as possible the existing ‘green character’ of the yard, a ‘front-garden’ strip with plantings of shrubs, perennials and grasses is introduced in front of the rear buildings. Bordered by yellow bricks, they define a green strip in the area where no trafficability is required (and counteract to some extend the necessary loss of vegetative surface and volume. These Vorgärten (front gardens) along the building also echo the (exterior) urban structure along Geschwister Scholl Straße, and create some discrete distance between flats and yard. Thus the more open and communicative yard can be functionalized for the more lively play of the 6 to 12 year old kids, also combining with the neighbor’s adjacent large play area.