Design

This is an incredibly interesting time for playground design. The surge of interest in public spaces and design for children, urban interventions and a maker culture are intersecting with the availability of new materials and advanced technology to create an explosion of interesting play ideas and themes. When I started the blog in 2008, I could hardly find enough to post regularly. Now, I can't keep up! Much like in the 1970s, there's an interesting duality in playground design today: on one side a focus on high design content and technologically advanced materials, and on the other a focus on nature, the environment and returning children to simpler forms of play. Both are advancing the quality of play for children. Future landscape historians will look back on this era of the twenty-oughts and teens as a seminal time for play design.


Plethora of Play, Beacon Rise Primary and OPAL, Bristol UK

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 up to 15 types of play now, how about you?) is the result of six years of diligent work by head Chris Thomas, a dedicated school ‘play team’, and Michael Follett of OPAL, devoted to Outdoor Play And Learning. “Pupils show respect for others in many situations, for example through the harmonious relationships evident at playtimes. The school has invested heavily in improving play facilities and resources, with a designated play coordinator. Pupils enjoy the variety of stimulating opportunities for creative play, which have helped to eliminate almost all incidents of inappropriate behaviour. This has – Read the rest…


Recycled Cardboard Elephant, Nituni...

I’ve featured some cardboard tube constructions on the blog before, but none as delightful as this cardboard elephant dubbed “Somnis - Read the rest...

Path as Play: Barnetraak, TYIN Teg...

I wanted to follow up on an element of Susan Solomon’s last post, the Barnetraak project of TYIN Tegnestue in - Read the rest...

How to Engage Kids and Community in...

Paige’s Note: Playground designers often have the goal of involving the community and particularly its children into the design process. - Read the rest...

Playgrounds and the Pritzker Prize

Architecture’s top prize for 2016 has been awarded to Alejandro Aravena of Chile, executive director of Santiago-based ELEMENTAL, a “Do Tank,” - Read the rest...

Ibtasem Playground for Syrian Refug...

“Within humanitarian responses, programmatically, children often become invisible” (Marc Sommers). Sadly, this is true of many of society’s responses, not - Read the rest...

"Aldo van Eyck, Seventeen Playgroun...

When I spoke at Sheffield’s Site Gallery in 2014, Anna van Lingen and Denisa Kollarová were also on the slate to discuss their - Read the rest...

Play in Cuba: Past, Present, and F...

I’ve posted a few photos of Cuban playgrounds before, and like other aspects of the island they are at once - Read the rest...

Announcing the 2015 Play Hero Block...

This is the third year for Playscapes’ series of blocks inspired by heroes of play, and I’m pleased to announce - Read the rest...

Sensory Playscape, Gudgudee, Mumbai...

While I love to feature high-design projects like the Nova, there is always a special place in my heart for - Read the rest...

Nova Kaleidoscope Playhouse, SOFTla...

Things I’d like to see on the playground…in my ongoing quest to inspire more use of reflective and chromatic surfaces–optically - Read the rest...

PLAY[ground] for Vivid Sydney, 2015

The international design firm HASSELL recently teamed up with non-profit Archikidz and Sydney Living Museums to create PLAY[ground], a three day destination - Read the rest...

Lessons from Superkilen, Copenhagen...

Paige’s Note: As I try to again ease back into posting after an intensive focus on my other life in - Read the rest...

Inflatable Playascape, PneuHaus, Bu...

I’ve never been a fan of the “bouncy castle” genre of temporary play installations, so it’s exciting to see the - Read the rest...

Gatos Recycled Playground, Basurama...

Basurama Brasil’s latest playful resurrection of recyclables is open for play at the Casa Daros Museum Rio, “for children under - Read the rest...

Lizard Country, Rathenow Germany, Z...

One of those delightful Gartenschau playgrounds is the “Lizard Country” constructed by ZimmerObst in Rathenow, Germany for one of the - Read the rest...

DOKK1, Literate Playground, Monstru...

The working title of the book I’m writing for Norton about the cultural history of the garden (if I can - Read the rest...

Floriade: Architectural Playscape, ...

Also from RMP Stephan Lenzen Landscape Architects is this thoughtful concatenation of play with garden and architecture in a pavilion - Read the rest...

Modern Castle Playground, Zulpich G...

Aaaand I’m back from the land of voting agreements and dilution formulas to the happier place of playgrounds…thanks for waiting! - Read the rest...

The Nature of Nature, by Susan Solo...

Paige’s Note: As I’m working to close an investment deal at the moment, I’m reminded of how great it is - Read the rest...

Millshot Close Playscape, Hammersmi...

See recently on a visit to London, this gentle, hilly playscape with with artisan-carved additions for turtles and fish. Billed - Read the rest...

Skinny Playscape, Kalvebod Brygge C...

Like a Wallholla without the wall, this linear playscape by JDS Architects traces a thin line down the “Wave’ of - Read the rest...