Although we know how important it is to allow children to play in public and outdoor spaces, it is difficult to deny that there are few cities offering adequate prepared environments for children - fun and safe spaces that allow them to experience urbanity and become conscious citizens of community life. For this reason, it is also understandable that families have increasingly instituted leisure spaces in indoor environments, giving their children the freedom and security necessary to learn and grow.
In this article, we have selected 11 incredible examples that demonstrate how interior architecture can help create play spaces for kids of all ages, helping them take their first steps in this world with greater autonomy and confidence.
This summer house for a family with three children was initially designed around the idea of creating spaces to sleep and play in the attic, intended for the whole family. The space utilizes a kind of "pedestal" structure (with bed and carpets), including two upper levels and a staircase. In addition to being very stimulating for play, the environment is safe - being surrounded by protective nets that are also a part of the game at certain points - and cozy - due to the neutrality of the color palette chosen.
This project demonstrates the insertion of recreational spaces within a hospital environment in Australia. Taking advantage of the "Salutogenesis" approach (a term that comes from medical sociology), the space includes vertical gardens, fish ponds, and an atrium to promote feelings of healing and rest, since its creators believe that spaces full of light provide an organic and relaxing atmosphere. In the central area of the hospital, the environments that become fun and interactive spaces stand out.
The singularity of this residence lies in its "magical island" (named after its creators), which separates the real world from the imaginative to create different environments for children to build memories of their childhood. For example, the round blue sofa acts as an analogy to the pool. This playful environment is also present in architectural elements such as stairs and drawers.
This Mexican kindergarten is organized to allow children to move freely between different interior spaces, creating a plethora of opportunities to play in both the horizontal and vertical fields. In addition to being functional, the carpentry invites children to climb its walls, go down and then climb ramps and swing.
After an earthquake in 2011, this project emerged with the objective of rebuilding a kindergarten in eastern Japan. The main purpose of the building was to create interiors that allowed children to play freely, ensuring their physical safety and keeping them away from the risks of radiation. Along these ends, a wide corridor was created with large pools of water and sand. Another curious addition involved the insertion of doors with different dimensions, allowing children to intuitively explore the space.
There are many advantages associated with parents who work at home, but only those who live in this situation know how difficult it is to care for children without losing focus on professional obligations. The inhabitants of this house in China chose to live in a space that would assist this way of life. The resulting environment is simultaneously calm and quiet for parents to work in and stimulating and creative for children to play and develop their imagination. Security is guaranteed by its layout distribution.
This is a Danish kindergarten whose main objective is to simulate a small city for children, thus expanding the boundaries of the scale of traditional schools. This "miniature city" manifests in the building through 11 small blocks in the form of houses slightly separated from each other. Inside the main building, spaces such as the kitchen, nurseries, and game rooms are structured as if they were houses designed for children. Exploring space's levels and slopes also becomes part of the game, protected by safety nets.
Landscape For Play / Aberrant Architecture
Inspired by the famous playgrounds of Aldo van Eyck, this installation mixes volumes of diverse geometric shapes and strong colors, with the aim of stimulating the imagination in each space. According to its creators, it is a very cozy playspace for children and adults of all ages.
The central core of the building contains the colors of the rainbow and different elements that stimulate the learning of numbers. Blackboards were installed to promote artistic conception, in addition to a space with cushions for those children who wish to have their own moments of reflection. Inside, a large red slide that works as a fun alternative to the stairs is also colored. The creators of the project say that "children descend it between 10 and 20 times a day."
Inspired by several landmarks of the city, this interactive installation contains old concrete games offering children abstract open landscapes and encouraging various types of play. Today, these playgrounds no longer exist because they are considered unsafe. Thus, The Brutalist Playground was born as a special account that explores and praises the joy present in brutalism.
This building is surrounded by an intermediate central courtyard and includes a ramp that leads from the ground floor to the roof. Its internal steps and ramps contribute to child's movement and encourages them to explore both the interior and exterior sides of the construction.