The crane carries the hornbeam over the roof of the main university building.
Image: Thomas Franke-Opitz/Universität Jena
It's not every day that you see a tree hovering above the roof of the main building of the University of Jena. A seven and a half metre high hornbeam was transported by crane from Schloßgasse to the small inner courtyard of the main university building to take up its new position. The action was made possible by donations collected by the Friends and Sponsors of the University of Jena after the former Chancellor Dr Klaus Bartholmé asked for donations for the redesign of the small inner courtyard instead of gifts on the occasion of his retirement.
Quiet breaks and standing receptions
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.
Bird's eye view of the small inner courtyard of the main university building