July 18, 2011

In honor of our family themed July/August issue, we've invited guest writer Paige Johnson, who spearheads the blog Playscapes, to share her perspective on some of the most innovative contemporary design targeted to kids. Week 2: Playgrounds Worth A Trip.
 

What if you planned your next family vacation around a playground? Some playscapes are so amazing they're worth the trip! Stay close by, and take in other area sites while building in time to visiting these unique landscapes for play again and again.

Parque Gulliver in Valencia, Spain, is a monumental play sculpture depicting the moment that Gulliver is captured by the Lilliputians. His legs and arms are stairs, his waistcoat and hair are giant slides, his sleeves are caves, and the ropes that tie him
Parque Gulliver in Valencia, Spain, is a monumental play sculpture depicting the moment that Gulliver is captured by the Lilliputians. His legs and arms are stairs, his waistcoat and hair are giant slides, his sleeves are caves, and the ropes that tie him down become climbers for your own Lilliputs. The base of his hat thoughtfully provides a place for tired parents to rest in the shade. Image via Wikimedia Commons
1 / 8
A couple more views of the park.
A couple more views of the park.
2 / 8
The "Adventure Playground" was born out of the bomb sites of WWII when architect Theodor Sorenson noticed children happily making their own playscapes out of rubble while ignoring traditional playgrounds that had been built to entertain them. The drive to
The "Adventure Playground" was born out of the bomb sites of WWII when architect Theodor Sorenson noticed children happily making their own playscapes out of rubble while ignoring traditional playgrounds that had been built to entertain them. The drive toward providing spaces in which children could build and experiment on their own became a whole movement in Europe, where over 1000 Adventure Playgrounds still exist. But the concept never caught on the United States, and the Berkeley and Huntington Beach, California, Adventure Playgrounds are now the only sites in America devoted to this uniquely child-centered play concept.Photo by Susan Solomon.
3 / 8
The standard kit of Adventure playgrounds is an assembly of recycled scraps—tires, boards, paint—which the children are allowed to manipulate as they wish, using simple tools. There is usually sand, water, and mud play, and some adventure playgrounds also
The standard kit of Adventure playgrounds is an assembly of recycled scraps—tires, boards, paint—which the children are allowed to manipulate as they wish, using simple tools. There is usually sand, water, and mud play, and some adventure playgrounds also incorporate small animal husbandry and cooking over an open fire or in an outdoor oven. Adventure Playgrounds also employ adult playworkers dedicated to ensuring the safety of the children without getting in the way, and studies show that accident rates at Adventure Playgrounds are actually lower than those at conventional playgrounds. Fastidious Parent Alert: expect your kids to get dirty here!Photo by Susan Solomon
4 / 8
"Puckelball" is a variant of soccer played on a field that looks like it was attacked by giant moles with a goal designed by the Mad Hatter. Its creator, artist Johan Strom, thinks of it as a metaphor for life: 
"Many live under the belief that life is a
"Puckelball" is a variant of soccer played on a field that looks like it was attacked by giant moles with a goal designed by the Mad Hatter. Its creator, artist Johan Strom, thinks of it as a metaphor for life: "Many live under the belief that life is a fair playing field, that both pitch halves are just as big and the goal always has at least one cross. But ultimately the ball never bounces exactly where you want it to and the pitch is both bumpy and uneven." The world's only Puckelball pitch is in Malmö, Sweden, a city with many other great playgrounds and public spaces as well. Definitely worth a trip!
5 / 8
There be dragons in the sands at Showa Kinen Park, a huge 400 acre green space in northwest Tokyo.<br /><br />Photo by Ed Jacob
There be dragons in the sands at Showa Kinen Park, a huge 400 acre green space in northwest Tokyo.Photo by Ed Jacob
6 / 8
Its Children's Forest has a landscape of mysterious pyramids that fills with fog for misty hide and go seek, giant marshmallow-like jumping pillows, and native rocks used to make mythic dragons and climbing walls that are way more interesting to scale tha
Its Children's Forest has a landscape of mysterious pyramids that fills with fog for misty hide and go seek, giant marshmallow-like jumping pillows, and native rocks used to make mythic dragons and climbing walls that are way more interesting to scale than those of the plastic foothold variety.Photo via Wikimedia Commons
7 / 8
More dragons can be found at the City Museum in St. Louis Missouri, a surrealistic playscape made of recycled materials inside and outside a 600,000 square foot former shoe warehouse. There are watery lairs, Steampunk hallways, pipe organs, an eight foot
More dragons can be found at the City Museum in St. Louis Missouri, a surrealistic playscape made of recycled materials inside and outside a 600,000 square foot former shoe warehouse. There are watery lairs, Steampunk hallways, pipe organs, an eight foot spiral slide, recycled planes reached by perilous tunnel climbs AND a daily circus. As a bonus, visit the nearby park of giant turtle sculptures also designed by museum founder Bob Casilly.

Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

8 / 8
Parque Gulliver in Valencia, Spain, is a monumental play sculpture depicting the moment that Gulliver is captured by the Lilliputians. His legs and arms are stairs, his waistcoat and hair are giant slides, his sleeves are caves, and the ropes that tie him
Parque Gulliver in Valencia, Spain, is a monumental play sculpture depicting the moment that Gulliver is captured by the Lilliputians. His legs and arms are stairs, his waistcoat and hair are giant slides, his sleeves are caves, and the ropes that tie him down become climbers for your own Lilliputs. The base of his hat thoughtfully provides a place for tired parents to rest in the shade. Image via Wikimedia Commons

Click here for Week 1: An Introduction to Modern Playscapes.

 

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016