The Netherlands – Into the Wild

“Into the Wild” is a playground design developed in collaboration with Openfabric which recently won the dutch sustainable playground design competition organised by the Richard Kraijcek Foundation (RKF) with ArchitectuurLokaal. The design is located in a modernist post-war neighbourhood in Leiden. The competition asked for ideas of how to incorporate sustainable thinking into the design of sports playgrounds.

In response to this the design concept juxtaposes a man-made exterior with a wild natural interior. Each place creates an environment for a different type of play, the formal exterior is a place for sports and structured games; tennis, basketball, 5-a-side football, 60m sprint and the long jump. While in the wild interior children are encouraged and free to construct and destruct their own play spaces amongst the trees using natural materials such as fast growing willow. A small pavilion sits in-between the two worlds and will act as a storage space for sports and building materials. A neighbourhood sports leader will supervise the pavilion and materials.

A boundary “ribbon” separates the two worlds, the “ribbon” becomes a play landscape incorporating traditional playground elements into its undulating and curvilinear form. This form references traditional romantic landscape park and garden design in The Netherlands, it protects the internal wilderness and creates a number of unique playscapes that link the different worlds; a climbing canyon, a hill with tunnels and slides, a pond with a beach, a curved seating stand facing the main sports area. This is the place where children learn through play to navigate between the different worlds. A balanced relationship between the man made and natural worlds is the essence of sustainability and forming an understanding of this dialogue through participatory play and creative interaction is an essential childhood experience currently missing in many urban areas.

The project was recieved warmly and the concept is now being developed for a number of locations around The Netherlands.

Project type: Urban and Landscape Design Client: Richard Krajicek Foundation Status: In Progress Collaborators: Openfabric, Green Consult