Friday, January 29, 2010

Playable Kids Playground Competition!

'Tis the season of grant deadlines....the lifeblood of researchers such as myself.  So blogging will be slow for at least another week.  But that's okay, because you should all be busy with the playable kids design competition! 

Hosted by the Atlanta Taskforce on Play

Playable 2010 International Design Competition is a worldwide contest that invites designers, architects, artists, craftspeople, landscape architects, and others to create awesome and wonder-filled places for children to play.

Playable Kids is the first phase of Playable 2010 International Design Competition because kids know what is fun. We want to get their ideas together and make sure the grownups really listen. You see, we don't want to end up with some really cool designs that grownups like to look at and praise, if, at the end of the day, kids think they are lame.

The deadline of the first phase, for kids under 12, is February 15, 2010. NEW deadline is February 26, 2010!  See how to enter here

For all you over-12s, the second phase of the competition, which "invites designers of all types from around the world to design playground equipment and spaces that will give a sense of place, wonder and fun so strong that they will entice children outdoors to play", is due to start on March 15.  Start thinking, and spread the word!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Playgrounds of Jacek Krenz, Poland, 1970s

Reader and landscape architect Anna Komorowska is an advocate for better playgrounds in Poland, and from her blog comes news of the playgrounds constructed by architect Jacek Krenz on Polish housing estates in the 1970s. 

Look at the contrast of the naturalistic, human-scaled playscape with the monolithic housing bloc looming soullessly behind it...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Giant See-Saws, Tilla Durieux Park, DS Landscape Architects, Berlin, 2000

Gigantic teeter-totters (called 'wippen' in Germany) by DS Landscape Architects, centered in a landscape of see-sawing berms which also look fun for play. 

Without see-saws, I fear that children will grow up without knowing how levers and fulcrums work!  Seesaws are also one of the few playground devices that require cooperation for play to occur.  My favorite game was not so much bouncing up and down as moving along the beam against someone of a different weight until we were perfectly balanced; mysterious midair still.

Images via worldvisitguide and ajtorri at photobucket; playground physics activities downloadable here!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Piano Stairs, Stockholm Sweden, thefuntheory, 2009

In case you didn't catch it in the 'comments', reader Sandra posted a great follow-up about the musical stairs installed at Odenplan station in Stockholm, to encourage taking the stairs instead of the escalator. 

66% more people did.

A great idea that could be adapted for the playground...even just for additional fun going up the stairs of the slide.

One of many unique proposals at; dedicated to using fun to change behavior for the better.
[Thanks, Sandra!]

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Swing, George Shaw, 2003

"As a kid, I wanted something to happen."

George Shaw paints scenes from his 70s Coventry childhood in Humbrol enamels...model paints.

"The Swing" is now at the Mead Gallery at the University of Warwick.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Storytelling Playscape, Haugen/Zohar Arkitekter, Trondheim Norway, 2009

I have a friend from Trondheim and can attest that the slogan ‘there is no such thing as bad weather only bad clothing'  summarizes the native attitude.  Because of this, Norwegian children (and grown-ups!) play outdoors year round.  Haugen/Zohar architects used scrap lumber from a nearby construction site to make a unique fireplace hut centering a kindegarten playscape where together with traditional playground facilities they wanted to make an closed space for fire, storytelling and playing. 

"Inspired by the Norwegian turf huts and old log construction, a wooden construction was built and mounted on a lighted and brushed concrete base. The structure is made of 80-layered circles. The circles have varied radiuses and relative center point in relation to each other. Every circle is made out of 28 pieces of naturally impregnated core of pine that are placed with varied spaces to assure chimney effect and natural light. Oak separators differentiate vertically between the pine pieces to assure airflow allowing easy drying of the pine pieces. A double curved sliding door was designed for locking the structure."

Photos from the Haugen/Zohar website, quote from archdaily...thanks to reader Maggie L. for the find!

Friday, January 1, 2010