Vintage Vancouver Playscapes

Reader and landscape architect James Furse-Roberts sent me links to some wonderful footage; an interview with Heinz Berger, the designer of  mid-century playscapes in the city of Vancouver c. 1968.  Note the intentional use of the word ‘playscape’ rather than ‘playground’, and particularly look at how these playscapes illustrate the twin foci of play in the mid-century:  1) avant-garde forms like the biomorphic concrete playhouse and 2) natural materials in adventurous configurations such as the fort and the timber scrambles.  Much like today’s playground milieu!  It’s a pity we’re just now getting back to these ideas after a long detour through plastics and platforms.

From the City of Vancouver archives.  Also don’t miss this vintage footage of play activities held at the parks in Vancouver in the mid-century, particularly the traffic school feature at 24:00.  Thanks James!

3 Responses to “Vintage Vancouver Playscapes”

  1. Paige Johnson said:

    Wow, thanks Giselle! I would love to do a interview with Heinz. I’ll check with the Historical Society. Thanks so much!

    January 10, 2014 at 3:59 pm

  2. Giselle Roeder said:

    I have known Heinz for about 24 years – he immigrated from Germany (not Jewish) and worked as a Landscape Architect for the city of West Vancouver for over twenty years and is still asked for his opinions. He designed many other features in West Van. – What I find amazing is that he also designed Golf Courses without being a Golfer himself. To find out more about him check with the Historical Society West Vancouver. He still lives in W.V. but it would not be right if I tell you how to speak with him although I know he would love it.

    January 10, 2014 at 2:46 pm

  3. Cheryl Corson said:

    Great interview. I’d love to know more about Mr. Berger, and wonder if he is one of the many Jewish landscape architects that emigrated to the US and Canada before or during the war. I love, “just about any junk will do if you have the imagination to use it.” Thanks for this great footage.

    April 30, 2013 at 7:54 am

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