Anansi Playground Building / Mulders vandenBerk Architecten

© Roel Backaert

Architect: Mulders vandenBerk Architecten
Location: Utrecht,
Project Team: Joost Mulders, Chris van den Berk, Robert van der Lee, Lucas Torres, Cecilia Thomsen, Idette de Boer
Principal: Municipality of Utrecht, department D.M.O.
Graphic design façade: DesignArbeid, Amsterdam
Contractor building: Barli B.V., Uden
Contractor façade: Roord binnenbouw, Amsterdam
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Wim Hanenberg, Roel Backaert, Wouter van der Sar

of Amsterdam designed this playground building in a park in Utrecht, the Netherlands, with a Corian façade engraved with images of fairytales from around the world. The idea of the building is to excite and stimulate curiosity and creativity of the children.

floor plan
© Wim Hanenberg

The pavilion splits the playground in two. One side is used by teenagers, the other by young children. The interior is divided into three separate playrooms featuring bright colors, simple furniture and elements to interact with. Each room is related to an individual facade and offers a specific orientation to its context. This combined with a unique “wallpaper” gives a particular identity to each room. The design invites children to play, to discover and invent games.

© Roel Backaert

The exterior of the building is the opposite of the ‘active’ playground with its many climbing frames and slides. The building is a calm oasis in the playground. The façade is a large white Corian surface with milled jagged lines. At first sight there are only lines. A second view reveals decorative characters; fairy tales from around the world. Graphic design studio Design Arbeid selected together with the neighborhood children the various fairy tales. The graphic design is cnc-milled out of the façade to stimulate the senses and the imagination.

Cite: "Anansi Playground Building / Mulders vandenBerk Architecten" 05 Feb 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
  • Domas Markevicius

    Very impressive work! The fact that this simple shaped building is so ordinary, but has so many brilliant hidden ideas that makes it more interesting than any other building. Nice work guys!

  • Zumthor

    Good workmanship. It looks that these architects really thought of the future users while designing this building. The children have a lot to explore on the walls and are able to change it in the way they want. I’m only curious if they are also allowed to colour the outer walls, are they?
    Also the staff/parents can keep a close watch on the children because of the open floorplan.
    If you’re also interested in architecture attuned to concerns of the users and want to read more about it check

    It’s time for architecture dedicated to its users!

    • House

      I do not totally agree with “Zumthor” about this project because children prefer a surrounding adjusted to their size and scale, that’s why children for example like to make huts and tents.
      The spaces of Anansi Playground Building are in my opinion too big. But I do agree with this “Zumthor” that the “play walls” are fantastic for the kids, also the recommended website is very interesting, where you can find by the way a link to Rasmussen’s book Experiencing Architecture, 2nd Edition with a chapter
      about childrens realm.

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  • joe Klein

    who is going be good little modernist painters when we grow up *I am !
    i like it its really cool black painting space g
    i really like plastic exteriors molded and alike

    Structural Insulated Panel combined with low cost durable surfaces very exciting possibilities “cap it like a plastic dog house”

    no illustrators in this crowed human form be damned

  • Robert Kats

    Nicely done that you have achieved this in a budget tight climate in the Netherlands. Please send this project in for the Rietveld Award 2011 edition!
    Kindest regards, Robert van Kats
    Blok Kats van Veen architects


    3 R2D2 3 CRPO!!

  • Andrew Geber

    so nice, i just love it

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