Milton Keynes Adventure Playground, Archigram, Calvert End, UK, 1972

The Archigram archives are now fully online at the University of Westminster.  Given the irreverent speculation their practice liked to engage in it’s appropriate, I think, that their only public built structure was a playground:  an adventure space for unconstrained construction in the presumptive ‘new town’ utopia (1967) of Milton Keynes,  frequented by architecture-types and their children in spite of its leaky roof.

It has long since been demolished, but Iqbal Alaam at flickr has a couple of vintage photos of the ‘boat’ (the smokestacks were actually ventilation for the toilets), showing spaces for play on both the ground level and the roof terrace.

Though this was their only official playspace, other aspects of Archigram’s inherent playfulness (cheekiness might be a better description) were congruent with 1970s playground design, and their ‘Universal Structure’ [source] has obvious overlaps with the previously blogged original Golden Gate Playground in San Francisco.

[Thanks to Susan Solomon (author of American Playgrounds: Revitalizing Community Space) for the photos of vintage Golden Gate Park…I’ve never discovered what happened to this equipment.  If you know, get in touch!]

2 Responses to “Milton Keynes Adventure Playground, Archigram, Calvert End, UK, 1972”

  1. Biennale New Avantgards | Pearltrees said:

    […] Milton Keynes Adventure Playground, Archigram, Calvert End, UK, 1972 | Playscapes […]

    February 06, 2014 at 9:32 am

  2. Coach said:

    Thanks for sharing all of this Archigram playground work. It entirely makes sense that they would be interested in playgrounds but I had no idea one existed.

    And yes, Katamari Damacy is an outstandingly perfect fit/analogy for a playground. Can't wait to see what he creates. Until then, you definitely should find a copy of the game and give it a shot, it's a hoot.

    Keep up the great work.

    Alex Gilliam

    November 07, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Leave a Reply