These playgrounds are an ongoing experiment in form, program and construction.  The project begins with the reconciliation between two typologies, the natural and the manmade.  These are drawn and worked until a continuity, a shared language, is found between them. 

The space of the playground is defined by the interaction of elements.  The natural world is comprised of and experienced through elements – earth, water, fire, wind.   Similarly, the manmade intervention is comprised of elements – wall, roof, plane, plinth, column.  The goal is to create an architecture in which these two kinds of elements can interact and begin to define one another. 

For children, play is a vital component to the development of the imagination, of exploration, problem solving, collaboration, and rule definition – not to mention that it’s fun. 

Additionally, the notion of play can begin to dissolve the experiential problem of the adult – to what extent it is possible to fully perceive and comprehend nature, and to what degree can/should the natural world contribute to our lives.  By engaging natural elements in a reciprocal process of creation and definition, the playground seeks to lessen this burden while at the same time allowing for unexpected discoveries, for child and adult alike. 

Play can also be a critical position in the design process.  These studies began as an interpretation of a drawing project demonstrating a common language between the representational and the abstract (The Last Judgment).  In the playground (as relief model of the drawing), this dichotomy was replaced by the nature/manmade dichotomy but with the same goal of dissolving boundaries.  The process is dialectic but also non-systematic, allowing for loose associations and improvised structures.  The process encourages play as a method for discovering the unknown, the unseen, and the unimagined.

Project Year: 2018 (ongoing)
Project Status: Concept Design
Project Team: Peter Ballman and Dasha Khapalova