The Origami playground is located in the south of Moscow in Salarievo Park residential complex. We designed it together with PIK Group. This is our second project based on the Play Hub concept. Play Hub is the main public space of the neighborhood with a café, toilets and a wide range of opportunities for play.
The spatial organization of the playground has been informed by the surrounding area: to one side there is a high reclaimed hill, to the other, a dense birch grove. These two iconic features blend with each other and enable visitors to feel like they are in both places at the same time. The layout of a nearby courtyard set guide axis, which “cut” the site into four key zones. This approach allowed us to combine the space of the yard and the play area into one single composition. Along the southern part of the Play Hub there is a rocky hill with bushy platforms to visually block the area from parking and to avoid transit routes through the site. Birch trees and shrubs are planted along the western and eastern borders of the playground. All entrances to the site face the residential complex. Such “isolation” allows creating a cozy and protected space.
We used the idea of origami as the main visual reference in form finding. The stone hill is made in a shape of classic origami with folds-like ribs, while the architecture of the canopies and podiums resembles paper modules, creating a certain rhythm on the site. On the one hand, these are functional elements that serve specific purposes: a place to relax and protection from the sun or rain. On the other hand, they are ornamental and decorative. To give such a rigid structure more natural character, we used natural stone, wood, sand, pebbles, bark and wood chips. These eco-friendly materials create special sensory environment and give unlimited number of play scenarios. It is through the game that children learn about the diversity of the world, understand how it works and gain new life experiences.
An important quality for us is the ability of the space to invite for communication. For example, water play works very well for this purpose. There is a water zone on the platform, where it is almost impossible to play alone. In one part of it the water is constantly circulating thanks to the pump system, while in the other, children themselves raise the water with the Nautilus screw. For water to flow in the right direction, you need to interact with each other, communicate and become friends. This is one of the favorite areas for both adults and children. In the summer, everyone walks barefoot in the water.
As usual, we pay special attention to risk taking. The play environment is a place where a child can try his hand and he or she should get such an opportunity. For example, from a 9-meter tower on the site you can see everything around, but to get to the last floor, you need to be deft and brave enough. If the child cannot climb higher, there is no need to force him or her — the time has not come yet simply.
We try not to call our playgrounds “children’s” because they attract not only children, but people of all ages. Each project opens with a test drive. We study how the space works, learn from mistakes and look for surprising ways of visitors’ interaction with the play environment to implement them in the following projects.
Name of the project: Origami
Project category: Schools and playgrounds
Client: PIK Group
Short office name: AFA
Project location: Salarievo, Moscow, Russia
Design year: 2017 — 2018
Year Built: 2019
Area: 3 000 m2
Manufacturer of urban equipment: Richter Spielgeräte