June 17, 2010
An interesting collection of playscapes from around the world can be found here: 10 Unusual Playgrounds From Around the World by David K. Israel
What is so promising and intriguing about these playscapes?
Materiality – Or more specifically, the use of materials that are usually not associated with playscapes, or are used in an exaggerated manner. The suspended woven structure is not only an interesting playscape, it serves as an interesting exploration into the sectional properties of dealing with inhabiting space. What kind of spaces / landscapes could be fabricated with similar ideas? Perhaps there are varying levels of porosity, rigidity, and expandability. Could pockets of growth mediums be established and sustain plants, gardens, habitats?
The reciprocal nature of material investigation – informing play – informing design potentialities speaks to the necessity of play being integral to the way we live, think, and dream.
Reuse – The use of castaway materials poses many issues in dealing with responsible design methods, material efficiency, life span, and the American movement toward for excessively sterile (but safe) play environments. Sterility by nature is lacking and deficient. We must question what is at stake and neglected through an obsessive nature towards playground ‘cleanliness’.
Adaptability and Metamorphosis – The ability for spaces to serve as a blank canvas for interpretations to unfold on them over time makes for a potentially successful space. The old adage ‘Less is More’ has great resonance in this situation. Perhaps, often times we offer too much, prescribe too much, and define too much so that we effectively stifle any potential for growth and expansion.