WHAT architecture - London

Clapham Road

Play PathFinder project
Scale400 sqm
LocationLondon, UK
Budget€ 50000
Design Year2012

Working with Play England objectives, the project aims were for children and young people in the London Borough of Lambeth
to have regular access and opportunity for free, inclusive, local play provision and play space. This meant working with
diverse urban contexts ranging from social housing estates through to public parks. In many cases these were ‘concrete
jungles’ featuring a distinct absence of greenery and so the project required artificial natures to be inserted. High levels of
stakeholder consultation were required and this required astute management of expectations for deliverability.

At Clapham Road Estate, 3 forms of innovative and tactile play equipment were designed and installed on site; ThePlaytree, The Logslide and The Basket Swing. Conceived from the idea of natural play, these 3 pieces of equipment are all timber based constructions, reminiscent of classic children’s play equipment. The play area aims to stimulate creativity!

INNOVATION 1: An Artificial Playtree! Many parks have signage asking children ‘DO NOT PLAY ON TREES’. The project thus sought to give children an experience of tree climbing by making artificial play trees that encouraged climbing. The trees themselves were feats of structural engineering due to the use of specific timber details drawn from lumberjack techniques.

INNOVATION 2: Sustainable play! The artificial play tree was made from a single discarded log of a Scandinavian Christmas tree. This log was then cut up and put back together to for the sketletal structure of a tree. This meant that real yet unused trees were recycled and reconfigured as play trees.