Concrete Pipe Playground

Concrete Pipe Playground is an intriguing play space built with concrete sewage pipes in WE Park at Fung Mat Road Waterfront in Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong. Designed to breathe creative life into the city’s unimaginative safety-first playground, Playright pays homage to the revolutionary Shek Lei Playground designed by Paul Selinger in 1969, bringing back the iconic concrete pipe installation concept infused with more adventurous elements. It has become an exemplary play space in Hong Kong for future government projects, to advocate the value of play and interconnect people in all ages to enjoy a free space to explore every “play” possibility.

Drainage Services Department, HKSAR Government commissioned Harbour Treatment Scheme in 2001 to improve the water quality in Victoria Harbour. The site is near to Preliminary Sewage Treat Works and has been transformed into a waterfront promenade. Developed by Home Affair Department Central & Western District Office, The Concrete Pipe Playground is a first-ever “creative park” programme designed by Playright to build a play space with concrete pipes that both resonates with the infrastructure project, and to explore the possibilities of building future playgrounds that encourages children to explore and learning through play.

The core of the “creativity park” programme design was to provide a fun, safe yet challenging adventure play space for children and adults. While most local playgrounds were filled with colourful plastic equipment, Playright hopes to bring the natural elements of concrete for children to touch and explore, leaving the colours on the surfacing to paint a colourful pathway leading them to play. The Concrete Pipe Playground was built with three PlayTUBE3 installations in different sizes of sewage pipes, aims to provide a versatile modular structure that offer different degrees of usage, triggering children’s imagination about what they could do.

Concrete Pipe Playground was divided into three sections, PlayTUBE3壹 stacked with a few layers of concrete pipes that encourage children to climb. PlayTUBE³貳 incorporated the loose part playground concepts while mimicking what children would build to play freely with their imagination. While PlayTUBE³叄 looks more organized like a connecting tunnel, it is the perfect space for adults and children to enjoy the harbour view of Hong Kong. Concrete Pipe Playground has successfully providing a free space for public regardless of age, to play, to dance or simply to relax by the sea, connecting people in an innovative way.

The sewage pipes installations have changed the design thinking and approach of the government on play space design in Hong Kong. Bringing a new perspective to officials on how an interesting playable installation incorporated with the concept of unstructured adventurous play can enhance child’s development in many ways. Hong Kong’s monotonous play space design built in recent years have been criticised for uninspiring and boring, believing fun should not be compromised for safety, this creative playground’s design shows a perfect example on how an exciting play space can help to develop interpersonal skills and adaptability for a child.

Since the opening of Concrete Pipe Playground, the play space not only providing a new playable open space for people living in the local community, it also attracts parents that value free play from all over Hong Kong to enjoy play time with their kids. The significance of the experimental project has successfully challenged the normal way of play space design and it breaks the government’s standard way of design thinking, proving playgrounds equipment was not necessarily “safety-first”, in the meantime educating the public about the importance for children to take risk and develop interpersonal skill and stay tough amid adversity.


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