Experimental Playground

The consultation workshops experimented with environments that had flexibility and gave children control over the shaping of their space. The design gives children the ability to explore and alter their playground – creating space for imaginative play. The Experimental Playground Project generated the design development with artist led engagement workshops focusing on different aspects of the social and physical space. KLA found that radical changes in children’s behavior could be achieved by introducing out of the ordinary play elements. The school is happy since the playground has been improved that pupils play more imaginatively and inclusively and are better behaved with increased levels of concentration in class.

Design of the playground

Stripes of colour stride over the playground, dividing the space into bands which change the existing orientation of the space. The oversize zebra crossing flows up and over the created contour of the Look-Out Hill which is backed by a mirror wall. A forest of poles becomes an area for den building and hide and seek; a shelter has moveable transparent orange boulders that glow when placed over the LED lights in the floor. A mirrored slot is sliced through the wall of the shelter, acting as a link between two play areas. Rotating platforms become performance stages, seating areas, pirate platforms; moving island planters can be gathered together to create a garden or separated out for crop planting by a class. Beneath the existing trees is a long oversized timber bench – a quiet space to sit and watch.

The project won awards for design, for Hackney Wick Public Art Programme and the Hackney Design Award 2005

Project title: Daubeney School
Landscape architects: Kinnear Landscape Architects
Location: Hackney, London
Design and construction dates: 2002-2003
Budget: £80 000 plus arts funding
Artist collaborator: Hattie Coppard
Arts Co-ordinator: Lucy McMenemy
Image credits: KLA, Lucy McMenemy