Handcrafted Playgrounds by Paul Friedberg now available through Playscapes!

Also in the spirit of encouraging you to make your own playscapes, I’m pleased to announce the second title in my effort to make vintage playground classics available again…Paul Friedberg’s Handcrafted Playgrounds from 1975.  Its best description is contained in the book’s own foreword:

“Handcrafted Playgrounds is a sketchbook of designs based on two very simple premises: anyone can build a playground, and the actual process of building it can be as important as the finished product. 

It gives the builders (who should certainly include the children for whom it is planned) a chance to shape their environment, to create something to answer their specific needs. 

All settings, urban, suburban, and rural, are rich in natural and man-made materials suitable for play.  Every child, wherever he or she lives and whatever space is available, can have an exciting playground. All it takes is a little imagination.”

Paul (see an online bio at the Cultural Landscape Foundation) is best known in playgrounds for his innovative 1970s installations in New York City, in which he utilized what were then completely new forms for play:   massive timber constructs, concrete forts that resembled ancient pyramids, and vest-pocket play spaces in trash-strewn vacant lots before temporary parklets were cool.    (See a 2007 article by Deborah Bishop in dwell magazine for photos of Friedberg’s 1970s work, from which the three photos below are taken.)  UPDATE:  Paul has let me know that the last two images are actually the work of Richard Dattner…apologies for the misidentification, but don’t worry,  Dattner’s own book Design for Play will be released on Playscapes soon!

Friedberg was one of first to realize the ideas embodied in the new word ‘playscape’ as discrete from ‘playground’:  a fully three-dimensional landscape space in which purpose-designed components worked together to provide an integrated play experience.

This book reflects that, offering build-it-yourself plans for everything from bridges to benches, spring toys to sprinklers, that can be put together to create a comprehensive play area.   Most are  made from timber, some from tires or other recycled materials like spools and water tanks.

Handcrafted Playgrounds is currently selling for over $100 on amazon, but now you can get a digital copy through playscapes for just $6!

Please remember that this book is still under copyright protection.  Once you’ve downloaded the file it is yours, just like a physical book is, to print or loan if you wish but not to copy and hand out.

I’ve purchased publication rights and must also pay royalties; your respect for the time and expense of the original copyright holder as well as my own is very much appreciated. (If you need to convert the pdf to other ebook formats like epub or mobi, try Calibre, which is a free download).

Purchase Handcrafted Playgrounds digital download for $6 USD via Paypal


3 Responses to “Handcrafted Playgrounds by Paul Friedberg now available through Playscapes!”

  1. Melody said:

    This is a great book for inspiration and is worth the $8 (guess the $6 is a typo) for that alone. However, if you are expecting step-by-step instructions, skip it and browse Pinterest. There are a few side notes to this picture book, but other than that, you are left to figure out the best type of materials and measurements for any of the structures.

    January 26, 2014 at 9:10 am

  2. Mrs. Ed said:

    I's so glad you had this. Thanks!

    August 15, 2012 at 11:32 am

  3. Nikoli said:

    Thanks for the book! I'm sure it will prove quite inspiring and helpful with my build. (Using mostly reclaimed wood from unused or damaged backyard decks and playdecks.)

    May 25, 2012 at 5:48 pm

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