Monday, November 19, 2012

Best/Worst Playgrounds

Adventure Playground opened in Berkeley California in 1979. It's an outdoor play structure with a multitude of structures to climb and play on. What I find more interesting about this set in particular is the encouragement for a different kind of child creativity, where children are actually able to build and construct different things from their imagination, using a variety of tools and materials found on the grounds themselves - a realization that the designer came to when he saw children playing in the dirt and rubble of post-WWII battle zones. Ultimately, it allows children to imagine and construct their own environments - something which I am looking to do with my own playground design.

The Alexander W. Kemp Playground is another playground that is designed to promote creativity and collaboration. Again containing a multitude of structures to climb and play on, this area also provides children with a number of different other creative materials - such as sand and water. I read a parent comment on the site that spoke about how her child had gotten involved with 10 other children in a project to build a dam for one of the water obstacles on the site - the exact kind of thing that I am trying to promote in my own playground.

The Takino Suzuran Hillside National Park in Japan is a massive play space with both indoor and outdoor play structures. It utilizes a number of different elements in the geography of the landscape - including a huge trampoline built into a hillside, while dividing itself into six distinctive zones, each with its own unique atmosphere. In winter, the outdoor areas become converted into "Takino Snow World," which provides a number of winter-time activities for visitors to the park.

Evidently it's a bit harder to find detailed information on bad playground design, but here we go...

Somehow I think this design is a little self-explanatory as to why it is a bad playground design.

As an architecture student, some designs just speak for themselves. This set in particular might get a chuckle out of small children, and a very confused look out of parents, while not necessarily promoting any of the development attributes that a good playground should be promoting - creativity, physical development, etc.

A very depressing playground - a small, fenced in area with a single roundabout for the children and a bench for adults. One of the things I'm quickly learning about playground photography is that playgrounds tend to look a lot more fun when you have kids playing on them, as all good playgrounds do. I'm curious as to whether or not a really crappy playground like this could be made to look fun if a bunch of kids were added into the picture doing various creative activities.

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