Playground-E 2.0 — Architecture Competition by UNI.xyz

‘Playground-E 2.0’: Architecture Design Competition for Playground for the current generation — Design Competition

Fig: 1 — Kids playing freely (Credits- Robert Collins)

Childhood and play

The concept of play for children was developed by Frederick Frodel, and since then playgrounds are a major part of our society. The first outdoor playspace was opened in 1821, for a gymnasium. It was inspired by Frodel’s concept and was well-equipped with gymnastics equipment. This trend of gymnastics faded, and more child-specific outdoor play spaces were invented. Thus the first park playground was established in 1879 in Chicago.

Playgrounds have been a vital part of our growing years. It was a place to freely be ourselves after school, after studies, or for an entire day. It offered a safe environment without constant scrutiny from parents. It’s a place where long-term friendships manifested and the most undocumented moments were made.

They not only contributed to providing us with a space to enjoy but also formed an open/green space in the urban fabric.

Although in today’s context they might be losing their relevance.

Fig: 2 — Isolated playground due to the pandemic (Credits-Julie A)

Digital and physical activity

Today’s kids belong to the digital generation. They are growing up with easy access to digital information and communication technologies. It’s more natural for them to engage with technology than any of the previous generations. Though the use of devices is creating a lack of physical activities. An open playground provides children with physical activities. It also engages them with elements that result in the development of key cognitive, social, and physical skills.

Moreover, in times of pandemic existing playgrounds remain isolated and kids are forced to a shut-in. It has suddenly increased screen time, as even schools have to opt for online learning. While digital learning has its pros, the boundary between play, study, and social time has blurred. In such scenarios where going outside is not feasible, parents have run out of options to imbibe physical activities in kids.

So, as creative thinkers, how can we improve this scenario?

How can we create a balance between all these elements?

Fig: 3 — Playground-E conceptual idea (Credits-Paulina)

Brief of the competition

In today’s world, change is the only constant, as we move with the speed of technology everything’s changing and traditional typologies are also adapting to this change. In retrospect, the typology of a playground hasn’t changed much. Whereas the digital mediums to which kids are glued is adapting to their every user group.

Constant upgrades in digital devices are making them easier and handier to use. During this time of isolation, where major things like schooling, work, exercise and play are changing. Can we take the opportunity to change our playgrounds too? How can we make playgrounds more relevant in today’s context? Can we integrate technology that kids are naturally attached to with playgrounds? Will it abide the much-needed physical activity in kids?

Brief: The design challenge is to rethink the playground typology, in today’s context.

The aim is to design and update versions with current trends in technology and play.

Think in a way that design includes social distancing while maintaining the core of the social play.

Design objectives

  • Technology and Play: How will the playground and play equipment look when integrated with the latest technology?
  • Evolution: How can the setup be changed in the longer run by adding or rolling out new features in the future?
  • Imagination: Innovative playspaces with physical/non-physical spatial intersections that combat isolation
  • Safety/Durability: To build setups that are safe and durable for long-term outdoor use.

The above objectives can be a point of beginning to conceive this design.

Participants can assume their contexts and users before initiating their design process.

Scale

The location of this playground is expected to be in a gated township that has more than 1000 dwelling units and 3–4 plots like this.

The size is 45m x 45m located between residential towers.

The gated community setup allows high-value playground elements that can be piloted here and maintained in the longer run — thereby paving way for mass release.

Find all the competition brief, terms, and other registration guidelines on this

page: Playground-E 2.0 | Interaction Design Architecture Competition on UNI | About

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Originally published at https://uni.xyz.

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