stems and stones for a three dimensional quality and Ulmusaurus in Husum Park

Stems and stones for a three dimensional quality and

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stems and stones for a three dimensional quality, and Ulmusaurus in Husum Park Playground. Denmark In Denmark, primarily Copenhagen, the movement has been toward creating ribbons of greenbelts for play to connect children to schools, homes and parks. The motive throughout is for children to find their own spaces to play without the interference of fussy pedagogues and programmes. The biggest lesson of Danish playgrounds is the free, relaxed forms and schedules each playground develops as children are given the right and the choice to imagine and enact their own lively childhood dramas. Ritter Park - Huntington, West Virginia Ritter Park in Huntington, West Virginia is another playground designed to heighten the imagination. The playground was sited in a 100 foot by 200 foot hollow within a park which was once a pond bed. The area, bordered by gentle grassy slopes and massive oaks, maples and hemlocks, is a well defined natural shape with clear drainage patterns. As landscape architect, Peter Bohlies states: There was a clear feeling of place …with the potential for developing a play area that was a little more mysterious and less predictable than a typical playground …a cross between a hedge and a folly (p. 87). Innovative Play Structures Research Project August, 2001 Page 65
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The design of Ritter Park Playground uses children’s earliest memories and cognitive functions by employing stone play equipment embedded into landforms reminiscent of childhood games of building blocks and sand castles. The playground’s Indiana limestone, wood blocks, blue-green coated steel triangles, columns and arches are life-sized play places come to life from the closet toy box. Slides are built into one side of the grassy slope and mounted by wide terraced steps where children can stop and lounge. The slide tops are peaked and change in elevation simulating images of castles and towers, without taking children too far off the ground. A ladder descends into a hollow space behind the grassy knoll where sunlight brings life to the ‘eyes’ of all sorts of animals that are intriguing and a little scary nested behind the trees. Often times the triggers to the imagination are elements that are not banal, experiences that are a little frightening, mysterious or sensuous. Conventional elements are mixed with ambiguous and unfamiliar shapes that must be interpreted as they are approached and used. Working with the Huntington Junior League, designers incorporated subtle play elements that include surprise and illusion. Carved inscriptions and petroglyphs are placed as little surprises in nooks and crannies of all the play structures. Another prime example of surprise and imagination in the playground is the ‘mystery dig’, a mound of earth created with the help of local contractors that is changed on a regular basis.
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