Modern Castle Playground, Zulpich Germany, RMP Stephan Lenzen, 2014

Aaaand I’m back from the land of voting agreements and dilution formulas to the happier place of playgrounds…thanks for waiting! I talk alot here at Playscapes about the fact that playgrounds should be local:  they should relate uniquely to their site and their community.   But I really like the fact that this new castle playground installed in 2014 in Zulpich Germany didn’t attempt to directly compete with the turrets and battlements of the REAL castle just behind it.  Instead,  RMP Stephan Lenzen Landscape Architects used an reinterpretation of the castle:  a series of faceted forts set in a traditional defensive circle that kids can range about, through and on via ramps and ropes and climbing walls.  The red and white flag-like accents bring just enough color and visual appeal to accent the precise, modernist wood construction.  Note that two of the forts rise higher than the others and a gap between them draws children into the open center ‘bailey’ just like a traditional castle gate does (visible in the background of the photo with the swing).  The bailey–indeed the entire ground plane of the playscape–is covered in tons (literally) of sand, the original playground material.  And no safety surfacing in sight, yay!

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