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Posts by Paige Johnson:

You could hardly be farther from the tropics than Norway but it’s where the ‘jungle’ or ‘Tarzan’ playground of tires and flying ropes has flourished for the past twenty-five years.  Even more curiously, this unique playground type–to my knowledge found only in the Land of the Midnight Sun–arrived via…Alabama? Mild-mannered child development professor  Tom Jambor, – Read the rest…

As I turn my thoughts back to playgrounds after a long focus on nanoscience, I’m contemplating the many types of play seen in this video of the exemplary set of options available at Beacon Rise primary school in Bristol (home of my alma mater!) as filmed over a *single* twenty-minute recess. The exemplary set of options (I’m – Read the rest…

Housekeeping Notes…

March 9th, 2016 by Paige Johnson

The blog is experiencing some technical instability, mostly due to the fact that it is now approaching 2000 posts and 5000 images in content, and is overtaxing its platform.  An upgrade will be available soon that will make all that inspiration more accessible to you readers, but in the meantime there are some issues with – Read the rest…

I’ve featured some cardboard tube constructions on the blog before, but none as delightful as this cardboard elephant dubbed “Somnis de Pes” (Dreams of Weight) and formed from 6000 recycled cardboard tubes by Spanish design studio Nituniyo for the annual Falles festival in Valencia. Most of the festival constructions–destined to be burned at festival end—are – Read the rest…

I wanted to follow up on an element of Susan Solomon’s last post, the Barnetraak project of TYIN Tegnestue in collaboration with Rintala Eggertsson Architects.  The playable installation was funded (surprise!) by the Norwegian department of ROADS!  They intend the modular forms to be a prototype for other potential installations. “The main aim of the – Read the rest…

How to Engage Kids and Community in Playground Design

February 1st, 2016 by Paige Johnson

Paige’s Note:  Playground designers often have the goal of involving  the community and particularly its children into the design process.  But it can be difficult to move the conversation beyond swings and slides.   In this column, Susan Solomon provides a practical list of questions for kids and adults that that elicit memories and feelings – Read the rest…

#TBT Constructive Play, c. 1917

January 28th, 2016 by Paige Johnson

“The value of constructive play as a factor of development is an unworked educational mine”  Edgar James Swift, 1917 In Manual training — Play problems; constructive work for boys and girls based on the play interest, William S. Marten extols the virtues of constructive play (basically building stuff from tops to ‘roller coasters’).  In keeping with Victorian – Read the rest…

Playgrounds and the Pritzker Prize

January 27th, 2016 by Paige Johnson

Architecture’s top prize for 2016 has been awarded to Alejandro Aravena of Chile, executive director of Santiago-based ELEMENTAL, a “Do Tank,” (as opposed to a think tank…love that concept).  In the publicity heralding the prize, it has been heartening to see a playground prominently featured! I know of no other Pritzker prize winner whose body of – Read the rest…

“Within humanitarian responses, programmatically, children often become invisible” (Marc Sommers).  Sadly, this is true of many of society’s responses, not just  humanitarian ones.  But CatalyticAction, a non-profit design studio that works internationally, is “intervening with projects that catalyse change in society”.  I’m pleased that they recognize play–particularly children’s play–as one of the things that catalyses change! Their – Read the rest…

When I spoke at Sheffield’s Site Gallery in 2014, Anna van Lingen and Denisa Kollarová were also on the slate to discuss their project examining seventeen of Aldo van Eyck’s remaining playgrounds in Amsterdam.   Their talk, below, has unique contemporary footage and ind-depth discussion of the site’s elements, and their book entitled “Aldo Van Eyck, Seventeen Playgrounds”, – Read the rest…

Play in Cuba: Past, Present, and Future

December 11th, 2015 by Paige Johnson

I’ve posted a few photos of Cuban playgrounds before, and like other aspects of the island they are at once both past and present, trapped in time.  C. 1950s playgrounds have been the most likely future, too, but I’m excited that great new things are on the verge of happening in Cuba!  Playscapes friend Chris Wangro – Read the rest…

This is the third year for Playscapes’  series of blocks inspired by heroes of  play, and I’m pleased to announce the 2015 edition honoring the great sculptor Isamu Noguchi!  As early as 1933, Noguchi was designing sculpted landforms for children’s play when the rest of the world had only recently come to acknowledge the swing – Read the rest…

Sensory Playscape, Gudgudee, Mumbai, India, 2015

November 27th, 2015 by Paige Johnson

While I love to feature high-design projects like the Nova, there is always a special place in my heart for the small and inexpensive, and low-cost projects can (and should!) be just as visually appealing as any grand design. The playscape designed by Indian design firm Gudgudee  for the Research Society – Jai Vakeel School – Read the rest…

Things I’d like to see on the playground…in my ongoing quest to inspire more use of reflective and chromatic surfaces–optically active stuff–on the playground I’m inspired by the holiday commission for the Flatiron district in New York City:  a grown-up playhouse, really, that features kaleidoscopic facets and sound-responsive LEDs.   The color effects come from – Read the rest…

The deadline is approaching for teams to register to design an innovative play space for a public school, library, and recreational center in Philadelphia! Note that “Multidisciplinary, integrated teams must have at least one licensed landscape architect, architect, or civil engineer”, and it does cost $300 to enter. DEADLINE:  November 30, 2015!