The Pulse Park, Arhus Denmark, CEBRA, 2012

I’ve been away from posting for a bit after a car accident…glad to be back, and glad to be fine!  No long-term damage, except to the car.  And now on to the Pulse Park, lately installed by CEBRA in the new suburb of Kildebjerg Ry near Arhus, Denmark.

It’s a great playscape but I’m particularly interested in its pavilion.  In garden history, pavilions of all sorts are one of the key markers for how people engage with the landscape.  From the Tudor gazebo (not an 8-sided wooden thing but a little room attached to a wall from which ladies could overlook the street) to banqueting houses and grottoes and even public spaces like bandstands, they uniquely extend the inside into the outside.   And people really like them.  I will hazard an educated guess  that including some sort of a pavilion–a partially covered indoor/outdoor space–will increase use and engagement at almost any playground.

The Pulse Park pavilion is shielded by a trellising and bounded by a moat to emphasize its contemplative, quieter purpose alongside three zones designed for more active play and for all ages together: Pulse, Play and Path.  In Pulse, the interesting concrete and safety surfacing forms are tough and appropriate for skating, biking and running, and the ground plane drops into bowls of the sort used by Olympic athletes for training…but they also serve as great tilted surfaces for a child’s feel-risky-play-safe.  Note that the concrete climber is sited so that it can also be a ‘grandstand’ for the running bowls.

There’s more obvious play equipment in Play:  wooden climbers and swings given a great modern look with the addition of white connecting sleeves.  There is absolutely no segregation of the ages though…the same timber members from which the swings are suspended are studded with challenging climbing holds.  The path is an  track that rises and falls for greater challenge as it loops through the space, with flashing LEDS to pace you, and connects to longer routes.   Let me say again that the simple design intervention of a track adds a whole new layer of active play to almost any play space…instead of a non-functional ‘edge’, use a track.

Very well done by CEBRA…lots of inspiration here!


Additional information from UNO (who sponsored the climbing forest), and the official Pulse Park site (which has more great videos that I wish were in English).  See also an interesting timeline of the Pulse Park development, and some press coverage of the park…including the role a toilet seat played in its development!

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