The Playgrounds of Previ, Aldo van Eyck, Lima Peru, 1974

“The site of the PREVI international architecture competition was located some kilometres north of the built border of Lima in the 1960s…The competition brief of 1968 was to design a high-density housing scheme comprising 1,500 family units, each enabling the possibility of further growth….Today, 40 years later, the …The original architecture has almost disappeared…The conception of the voids by Peter Land’s master plan has survived the growth of the development…

A large recreation area is situated in one corner of the PREVI, next to the abandoned factory complex of Montagne. A sandy area accommodates a football pitch and a basketball court. Beyond the football pitch is the playground, framed by prefabricated benches.

The playground consists mainly of a family of different objects installed on a flat plot. Slim steel arches held together by slight bridges suggest a fragile tunnel that invites children to climb, hang on or slip through it. Another climbing frame beside it is a hybrid grid of vertical and horizontal steel bars, frames of cubes stacked one on top of another. Contrasting with these lightweight constructions is a large concrete base, a sloping sunken semi-circle overlooking the pitch. In the middle of it stands a slide, its chute fixed by ties…

This assembly of highly static, geometric abstract objects, their gravity-defying impression of lightness and the sculptured border all recall the playgrounds of post-war Amsterdam designed by Aldo van Eyck for Amsterdam’s Department of Public Works. Van Eyck addressed the issue of interstitial voids and defined space and place, producing interventions that were both numerous and ephemeral. His ambition of creating a space for children that was “more durable than snow” was realized in the desert of Lima.”

excerpted from WALKWAYS, OASES AND PLAYGROUNDS – COLLECTIVE SPACES IN THE PREVI by Marianne Baumgartner at digital architectural papers.

[Photo 1 via domus. Photo 2 by nicolas hunkeler, via digitalarchitecturalpapers]

See also a domus article on the Previ project


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