We approached a local school and offered design ideas to regenerate their playground which currently consists of a vast, barren expanse of tarmac and a disproportionately small area of soft landscaping. The current playground is the daily shared outdoor play space for just over 300 pupils. Although there are a few items of play equipment, classes have to take turns every day of the week to enjoy them. Playground supervisors struggle to define their respective supervision zones due to the lack of spatial definition and landmarks.

The proposal introduces four play zones with differing levels and types of activity inspired by the context as well as ideas from the school students. The existing tarmac area is cut back to introduce two ribbons that define three areas of outdoor play and contemplation at the front of the school: sport activities on the tarmac, intermediate play area in between the two ribbons with an educational tower weather station, and a more generous soft landscaped area with trees and benches and an small covered outdoor teaching and performance space. A small beech wood is introduced between the ‘noisy play’ and the existing wildlife area to the rear of the school, as a filter between the noisy and quiet zones. This wildlife area is enhanced with new raised planters, a vegetable patch and a wooden tree house. It’s an area of meditation and contemplation.

The educational potential of the project during its development stages has been welcomed and embraced by the teaching staff and pupils. On-going