Text description provided by the architects. Thawsi playground was conceived as a departure from the standardized mass-produced plastic playground. A key driver was to maximize the connection with nature and to provide a sense of free play.
The site is unique and challenging. The playground itself is the first in a series of planned renovations to the overall Thawsi school Master Plan. The location of the new playground is in response to an ambitious plan to introduce a vehicular road into the site. This results in both the eradication of the original playground and the positioning of the new playground on an elevated platform above the planned road.
One of the design’s most distinct characteristics is its unique relationship to the playground it replaced. The superseded wooden playground was much loved and highly rated by students. In response to this, we tried to preserve its most successful qualities into the new design, among them the use of wood as the primary material. In that sense, the new Thawsi playground can be said to be the result of the recycling and upgrading of ideas that allow an altogether new proposition to arise.
The elevated platform the playground is situated on also contributes to the design’s distinctness. We took this as an opportunity to develop and introduce a design understood as an assembly of parts, both at the level of its material and assembly as well as at the level of the play structures. This mindset of assembly allowed the play structures to be built offsite and reassembled on the platform without the need for a structural foundation. The platform itself can also be understood as an extension of the design, as we took particular care to build around existing trees and make sure that the elevation of the platform didn’t contribute to hazardous play. We carefully designed the platform’s edges and allowed trees to perforate the platform.
The outcome was a diversity of individually designed play objects, each with its own function, structural logic, and autonomy. The bridge, the tower, the sandpit, the balancing beam, and the climbing steps, each with their own identity, conceived with the others in mind, integrated onto an elevated platform.