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19 Playgrounds that Prove Architecture Isn't Just for Adults

Former US President Theodore Roosevelt once said that play is a fundamental need — so much so that playgrounds should be provided for every child, just as schools are.

In countries around the world, architects are becoming increasingly innovative to create environments where children can explore their imaginations.

Today, playgrounds can float entirely on the ocean, or take the shape of an enormous, colorful crocodile.

Keep scrolling to see some of the best playground designs around the world that will make you want to be a kid again.

© Flickr/njcull © MONSTRUM © Wibit Sports GmbH Courtesy of Bounce Below

Get Swinging in Boston on these Glowing LED Hoops

© Howeler + Yoon Architecture
© Howeler + Yoon Architecture

In Boston, playgrounds are no longer just for kids. Twenty LED-lit circular swings have been installed outdoors as a part of "Swing Time," Boston's first interactive sculpture installation. The hanging, glowing orbs are a twist on traditional rubber-and-rope swings, dangling from a minimal steel structure similar to those used in conventional playgrounds. LED lights embedded in the swings activate and change color as each swing moves, returning to a dim white light when static. The piece is designed to blend Boston's design community with its expanding technology sector while playfully engaging residents. 

Take a seat in "Swing Time" with more photos and info after the break.

© Howeler + Yoon Architecture © Howeler + Yoon Architecture © Howeler + Yoon Architecture © Howeler + Yoon Architecture

4 Visions Released for D.C.’s First Elevated Park

OMA, Höweler + Yoon, NEXT Architects, and Cooper, Robertson & Partners are amongst four interdisciplinary teams competing to design Washington D.C.’s first elevated public park. As part of a six month nationwide competition, the shortlisted teams have just released their preliminary design proposals for what will be known as the 11th Street Bridge Park.

Suspended over the Anacostia River, the multi-use park aims to re-connect two disparate city districts and re-engage residents with the riverfront by offering a 21st century civic “playscape.” Education and performance spaces, as well as a cafe and water sport areas will all be included in the masterplan.

A preview of the four shortlisted schemes, after the break…


2013 AR+D Awards for Emerging Architecture Announced

The winners of the 2013 AR+D Awards for Emerging Architecture have been announced! The awards, presented by The Architectural Review and now in its 15th year, have seen "projects from locales as diverse as Bloomsbury and the Himalayas." This year over 350 entries were discussed by four esteemed judges, including Sir Peter Cook, and have led to four winners who will share a prize fund of £10,000. See both the four winning entries and the ten highly commended schemes after the break...

Höweler + Yoon Architecture and Audi to Develop Pilot Project for BosWash: Shareway 2030

Last year interdisciplinary architecture firm Höweler + Yoon Architecture were announced the winners of the Audi Urban Future Award for the project Boswash:Shareway 2030.  The City Dossier in Boston, held this May, was organized as a series of workshops between Höweler + Yoon Architecture and Audi experts in developing steps to realize aspects of the Boswash: Shareway vision.  Part research project, part feasibility study, part road map to the future of mobility - the focus of the workshops is to propose a pilot project that can be tested in the proposed region of Boston - Washington.

We featured the project last year as it highlights how the landscape of urban development has changed.  The focus of "Shareway" is the string of high-density metropolitan areas, their suburbs and ex-urbs along I-95 between Boston, MA and Washington, DC.  The I-95 corridor caters to some fifty million inhabitants, many of whom commute into metropolitan areas for work.  Mobility and transportation are critical to the economic vitality of these urban areas; "Shareway" proposes an intentionally re-engineered "highly orchestrated and deliberately produced platform from which we might imagine alternate paths, different trajectories, or new cultural dreams" whereby imagining an "alternate life for the road" is imagining a new American Dream.

Read on for more on the progress of this project after the break.

Höweler + Yoon Architecture wins Audi Urban Future Award 2012

Eric Höweler and J. Meejin Yoon of Höweler + Yoon Architecture have been announced as winners of the Audi Urban Future Award 2012, an international architecture competition focused on the future of urban mobility in the five metropolitan regions Boston/Washington, Istanbul, Mumbai, Pearl River Delta, and São Paulo. With “Shareway”, the Boston firm’s winning proposal called for the reinvention of the Boston-Washington, D.C., metropolitan region called “Boswash”.

Höweler+Yoon Architecture was one of the five architectural offices that were selected for the competition. Other participating firms were Superpool (Istanbul), CRIT (Mumbai), Node Architecture & Urbanism (Pearl River Delta), and Urban-Think Tank (São Paulo).

We had the chance to interview the practices and ask them about the role of the architect in our society. We also talked to Eric Höweler about this project during the awards ceremony, video coming soon.

Project Description by Höweler+Yoon Architecture:

BSA Headquarters / Höweler + Yoon Architecture

Courtesy Höweler + Yoon Architecture
Courtesy Höweler + Yoon Architecture

The Boston Society of Architects plans to move from its current location on 52 Broad Street to a new space at Atlantic Wharf, as part of a major transformation of the 1867 institution. As part of an open design competition, the BSA selected Höweler + Yoon Architecture’s proposal entitled: Slipstream Public Exchange. Images of the proposal, a fly through video and an architects description after the break.

Expanded Practice: Höweler + Yoon Architecture / MY Studio

The title “Expanded Practice” comes from how Höweler + Yoon Architecture / My Studio have named their design methodology. And in this book it’s not just a title, as the book is really a guide on how this young firm conceives their projects rather than a mere catalog of works.

Their works can’t be grouped in types of buildings, instead their works are grouped in envelopes, natures, formats, interactions and media, as they range from a Möbius strip dress, to a responsive park.

What caught me while reading this book is the effective use of technology developed by this practice, not just mere eye candy as we are used to. It clearly shows how the architects’ experimentation with small electronic components could be derived into interactive spaces through a methodological work. And I have to repeat “metholodogy” as it is the most important part of this book, which makes it a learning tool instead of a construction catalog as we are used to on typical monographs.

More information about this book after the break.