Landscape Architect & Specifier News

SEP 2018

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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56 Landscape Architect and Specifier News and offer students a variety of opportunities to climb, slide, swing, and jump while three inches of poured rubber cushion the ground. A rotating roster of utilitarian structures adds to the excitement and gives students a unique opportunity to use their imaginations. The design team proposed the idea of a rotating piece of play equipment to keep things new and interesting for the children at the school while also keeping the space from feeling too cramped. This idea was thoroughly embraced by the institution, and, to this day, the head of the school has been curating the selections and finding people and organizations to donate structures. Some examples of these non- typical play pieces include a teardrop camper, a Fiat 500, an airplane cockpit, and a small rowboat. The school makes this rotation possible by utilizing the thoroughfare on their property between 114th and 115th Streets to crane the old equipment out and the new equipment in. This takes place once every year or two. Anchoring points were installed during construction in order to secure each new piece that is brought onto the play deck. As for the permanent play structures, the school wanted to keep the designs simple and open-ended, while also limiting the size of the equipment. The climbing structures make less of a footprint than more traditional equipment and allow opportunities for the students to increase their upper body strength. The institution did not want to include any themed structures (ones that look like pirate's ships, castles, etc.) but instead wanted the kids to be able to imagine the structures were anything they wanted them to be. This project was truly focused on the variety of play experiences that could be provided on this small rooftop space. The north end of the play deck was transformed into an intimate garden and outdoor classroom for quiet play and group study. The students have come to refer to it as the "chill zone." A stair bulkhead and sports equipment storage room in one corner is sheathed in ipe wood and resembles a garden outbuilding. The horizontal ipe wood transforms into an open slat wall the width of the play deck, providing a physical separation from the energetic ball games of the caged play area. Students enter through an opening in the screen wall protected with a sliding steel mesh curtain into a contemplative zone filled with plant life and open to the sky. Above: A revolving installation of unique play equipment which is changed out every year or so– here including an airplane cockpit – and permanent play structures appeal to students of all ages. Installed alongside classrooms, the structures offer students a variety of opportunities to exercise and play with friends. PHOTO: FRANK OUDEMAN / OTTO Left: The playground structures were kept small and simplistic in order to stimulate the imagination and creativity of the young students while also allowing for light exercise and strengthening. The wire mesh Silver Green screen forms a barrier between the playground and the ball play area. PHOTO: FRANCINE FLEISCHER Continued on page 58

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