Friday, August 28, 2009

Roliqueries for the Playground

After I saw these I remembered watching children amuse themselves in a large sand area with the smooth track created by rolling a ball. How much more interesting if the ball made a pattern, like those left behind these 'roliqueries' by Amy Brier. Her creations are hand carved, with a price to match, but high-relief resin balls are available in the garden section of the hobby stores in my area.

(roliqueries originally found at thehomeoutside)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Playground Ornithopter, Richter Spielgerate, 2007

Ornithopters have fascinated designers since Icarus flew too close to the sun. The wings of this playground ornithopter actually flap, though I couldn't ascertain the Richter Spielgerate. Photo by gynti 46 via flickr.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Grounds for Play, Glasgow, 2004 and continuing

‘Grounds for Play’ was designed to exploration the interrelationship between art and play in a public setting; in this case Bellahouston Park outside the modern completion of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's celebrated 'House for an Art Lover' design in Glasgow, Scotland. The winner of a 2001 design competition for the overall scheme of the grounds was Gareth Hoskins Architects, who designed a carpet of leaf-like mounds to frame custom designed play and art objects. 26 giant leaves or grassy mounds currently house 15 specially commissioned play pieces for children. House for an Art Lover hopes to continue adding pieces to the park.
Graeme Andrew - Clouds

Katy Barac - Jelly Babies

Tassy Thompson - the mini forest and skara brae

Elspeth Bennie - peace cairn sculpture and bug swings

Alex Rigg & Trevor Leat - Bellahouston ship

Lorraine Aaron - rainbow bridge

[image by poodiecat via flickr]
Unless noted otherwise, all images courtesy of House for an Art Lover and Gareth Hoskins Architects. Additional information on the pieces in this City of Glasgow guide.

I've been to Scotland several times but never Glasgow...must put it on the list for the next visit.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

That Seventies Playground, McDonalds, c. 1972

Vintage McDonalds playground materials, including original prices, posted online at flickr by jasonliebig. I favored the Big Mac climber, myself.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Vintage NYC playground c. 1970

Also from Life magazine, undated photos (1970s, perhaps?) by John Zimmerman of playgrounds in NYC, including what looks to be an industrial drum converted into a playspace with perspex 'eyes'.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Trekroner School playground, Stig L. Andersson, Roskilde, Denmark, 2002

Also found at vulgare is the Trekroner School Playground by Stig L. Andersson architects, with a wading pool that looks like a giant mud puddle. I'm particularly intrigued by the way its shallow sides allow for running and unstructured play, as pictured. Do any of you landscape architect types know what this is made of? I assume a drain is provided for cleaning...

"The school playground is conceived as a ‘garden of knowledge’ framed by the school buildings which have no corridors, so to get from one block to another everyone has to go outside and feel the weather and the changes of nature."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Jester Park Natural Playscape, Granger, Iowa, RDG Planning and Design, 2008

Located in an under-visited area of a large existing park, the Jester Park natural playscape is not only used 58 percent more than the traditional playground in the park, but 94 percent of the playscape's users were in the park solely for the purpose of visiting it.

How's that for the appeal of a new kind of playground?

And the cost was $204, 343 for 40,000 square feet; just over $5 per square foot.
According to Lewis Major, a naturalist with Polk County Conservation,“…the Playscape is not teaching children to play naturally, but is teaching parents to let their children play naturally. The kids know how to do it.”


Tall Grass Tangle: like a hedge maze but with grasses
Forest of the Dead: salvaged timber logs set into earth berms for climbing
Stone Henge: a circular monolith with viewfinders into the wider park
Wetland: wading pool, waterfall and bubbling stone
Grass Slide, Log Stairs and Boulder Scramble for climbing up and sliding/rolling back down

"Pathways constructed using limestone edging and red decomposed granite allow stormwater to sink into the ground while maintaining an accessible and visually contrasting path for those with mobility issues or visual impairments.... art elements visually engage visitors and invite them to explore the playscape further. The first component visitors encounter is a rustic 18-foot-tall entrance feature adorned with intricate carvings and a giant spider web. Three light bollards near the entrance look like old tree stumps, and mysterious petroglyph carvings are strategically hidden on rocks throughout the area. Originally designed art tiles and carvings can be found throughout Stone Henge, while the fossil plates buried in the Archeological Dig are handcrafted and painted to look like the real thing. "

Photos from the website of the Polk county conservation board, and recreationmanagement (from whom the playscape won a design award); review by a parent/visitor to the playscape is here

Sunday, August 2, 2009