Elephant and Castle Playground, London, Martha Schwartz Partnership, 2008

Still traveling through London by playground (can you believe I saw all this in one day?)
Given Martha Schwartz’ reputation for the avant-garde, I was disappointed that her firm’s playground for the redevelopment of St. Mary’s Churchyard at Elephant and Castle consisted mostly of off-the-shelf components from a manufacturer, with the addition of some orange climbing blobs.
Very artificial, of course, but that is her style.
The flat ‘discs’ in the second photo are little marble sculptures, polished cool and smooth for tiny hands, with a recess in the top that would catch just enough water for a little splashing after a rain, but not enough to stay around and become stagnant. They were my favorite feature.
In the wider parkspace, black and white spheres sprouting up like so many mushrooms underneath a grouping of trees were surprisingly comfortable to sit on, and more playful than your average park seating.
More exciting, I think, are some other plans for the area…there is to be an ‘urban forest’ that will run from Elephant and Castle to the Tate Modern, and include a playground (drawing below from architects-in-charge Witherford Watson Mann). Can’t wait!

8 Responses to “Elephant and Castle Playground, London, Martha Schwartz Partnership, 2008”

  1. YAO said:

    hi!
    i wanted to find out who builted this playground because the materials utilsed are not slippery even when wet and the features are quite amasing!!
    i'm not saying that for the kids but actually for adults..
    i do parkour and the grip is very important in this activity and this playground is excellent!!
    look at this to get a idea of the fun we had on a rainy day!!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSfi022Tw20
    hope to find more playground like this around london soon!!

    December 14, 2009 at 6:23 pm

  2. miracleplaysystems said:

    This playground is interesting in form and color and exciting overall. The design concept is very forward thinking. Did you see it getting much use? Are most playgrounds in London this way or was this just one you saw?

    June 24, 2009 at 10:41 pm

  3. miracleplaysystems said:

    This playground is interesting in form and color and the concept is exciting. The design of the equipment is very forward thinking and I'm curious to know how much use you saw it getting? Do you find that most playgrounds in London are this way? Take care.

    June 24, 2009 at 10:40 pm

  4. Brad Bieber said:

    Hello Arcady,
    What a great blog. You've got a great collection of natural playgrounds going. Have you seen most of them yourself? Are you doing any design work yourself? I'm working at the Natural Learning Initiative and would like to connect. You can reach me at brad_bieber@ncsu.edu
    Keep up the good work.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:29 pm

  5. Meg said:

    I just found your blog and am IN LOVE. I was looking for info on natural playgrounds and everything I need/want is right here. Thank you!

    June 02, 2009 at 9:11 pm

  6. silencio said:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    June 02, 2009 at 7:10 pm

  7. arcady said:

    Thanks…I've corrected!

    June 02, 2009 at 1:02 am

  8. Michelle said:

    Hi Arcady! The Urban Forest link doesn’t lead to an article on urban forests, btw.

    June 01, 2009 at 4:51 pm

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