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  1. ArchDaily
  2. Events
  3. Assemble to Construct a Brutalist Playground at RIBA

Assemble to Construct a Brutalist Playground at RIBA

  • 13:30 - 21 May, 2015
Assemble to Construct a Brutalist Playground at RIBA
Assemble to Construct a Brutalist Playground at RIBA, © Assemble and Simon Terrill
© Assemble and Simon Terrill

Starting June 10, the RIBA will present The Brutalist Playground - an exhibition that is part sculpture, part architectural installation, which invites people of all ages to come and play, the Brutalist way. Occupying the entire Architecture Gallery, the immersive landscape is a new commission by Turner Prize nominated design and architecture collective Assemble and artist Simon Terrill. It explores the abstract concrete playgrounds that were designed as part of Brutalist housing estates in the mid-twentieth century, but which no longer exist. They became playgrounds unsuitable for play.

Park Hill Estate, Sheffield - 1962. Image © Arch Press Archive RIBA Library Photographs Collection © John Donat RIBA Library Photographs Collection © Assemble and Simon Terrill Churchill Gardens - 1956. Image © John Maltby RIBA Library Photographs Collection + 6

Park Hill, Sheffield - 1963. Image © Arch Press Archive RIBA Library Photographs Collection
Park Hill, Sheffield - 1963. Image © Arch Press Archive RIBA Library Photographs Collection

The exhibition draws on features from a number of London estates including Churchill Gardens, Pimlico; the Brunel Estate, Paddington and the Brownfield Estate in Poplar. The playgrounds were often made from concrete, cast into sculptural forms, which presented a distinct move away from previous playground design. They were envisaged as a key aspect of the estate layout and design and as such reflect the preoccupations and social theories of society at that time.

Churchill Gardens - 1956. Image © John Maltby RIBA Library Photographs Collection
Churchill Gardens - 1956. Image © John Maltby RIBA Library Photographs Collection

Assemble and Simon Terrill have drawn inspiration from photographs and visual material in the RIBA’s collections, documenting the playgrounds when they were newly built and in use. The exhibition installation will recreate visual elements from the playgrounds in reconstituted foam, creating an interactive, contemporary space where the viewer becomes participant and in this way completes the work. Archive images of the original playgrounds will be projected on the walls.

© John Donat RIBA Library Photographs Collection
© John Donat RIBA Library Photographs Collection

"The challenge of reconstructing elements of now forgotten Brutalist play structures within the RIBA gallery is an exciting opportunity for us to explore contemporary issues surrounding play, by looking at the often surreal objects from the past," says Assemble on the creation of the installation. "Working closely with the RIBA collections and the artist Simon Terrill, the interpretation of these spaces has allowed us to ask questions around materiality and the nature of risk in play, while also giving greater visibility to the incredible original images of the playgrounds that can be found in the collections."

Park Hill Estate, Sheffield - 1962. Image © Arch Press Archive RIBA Library Photographs Collection
Park Hill Estate, Sheffield - 1962. Image © Arch Press Archive RIBA Library Photographs Collection

The Brutalist Playground will be accompanied by a public program of talks, debates and film screenings as well as workshops and events for families. It is being held as part of the London Festival of Architecture.

© Assemble and Simon Terrill
© Assemble and Simon Terrill

Press release courtesy of RIBA. 

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About this author
Holly Giermann
Author
Cite: "Assemble to Construct a Brutalist Playground at RIBA" 21 May 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/633677/assemble-to-construct-a-brutalist-playground-at-riba/> ISSN 0719-8884

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