Hornbeam becomes an eye-catcher

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Quiet breaks and standing receptions

The hornbeam is transported to the small inner courtyard of the main university
The hornbeam is transported to the small inner courtyard of the main university building with the help of a crane. Image: Stephan Laudien/Universität Jena

As early as 1908, when the main university building was built according to plans by architect Theodor Fischer, the idea was to use the small inner courtyard between the north and south wings as an island of tranquillity in addition to the large inner courtyard with its connection to the refectory. The commitment of the Friends and Sponsors of the University to the redesign of the small inner courtyard has now led to the realisation of the project. The contract was awarded to the landscape architecture firm impuls°Landschaftsarchitektur Facius PartGmbB, while the gardening and landscaping work was carried out by Bennert GmbH.

The strict symmetry of the approximately 200 m² courtyard, which is characterised by the rectangular open space and the oval border, is to be broken up by three wooden benches and the solitary tree. The angular shape of the wooden benches, which were made by carpenters and locksmiths from the university’s master craftsmen’s department of construction technology, symbolise the first letters of the key words from the university’s mission statement: Light, Life, Liberty. With the current planting of the hornbeam, which is considered to be particularly robust and drought-tolerant, the façade of the main university building will remain visible, while the tree crown will provide sufficient shade for quiet breaks and standing receptions in summer.

The redesign of the small inner courtyard is mainly funded by donations from the Society of Friends and Sponsors of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. In addition to Dr Klaus Bartholmé, the former Head of the President’s Office Dr Renate Adam and Emeritus Professor Dr Rainer Silbereisen, numerous members of the Friends and Supporters and employees of the University were involved in the redesign.