From an abandoned street to a giant stretch of grass with nothing on it, three city sites now have the tools for major makeovers. Last week, we looked in on
the end of the Community Design Collaborative
’s Play Space Competition
, which ultimately focused nine teams on three spaces
in need of a revamp for young users.
The winning design for the Waterloo Recreation Center (Philadelphia Parks & Recreation) is titled "Rebosante" and it’s from Roofmeadow
, Studio Ludo
and Space for Childhood.
"Waterloo is a fascinating site that was a series of backyards: actually, a street, that had been abandoned and cobbled together as a playground," says Play Space Program Manager Alexa Bosse. "It has this very odd configuration, where it’s mostly inner blocks surrounded by houses," with low visibility from the street, leading to long-term problems with illegal activities there.
About a year-and-a-half ago, local organization Men in Motion in the Community
(MIMIC) negotiated with Parks & Rec to base their all-volunteer group out of an onsite building, cleaned and painted the playground, and worked to deter the crime there.
MIMIC will take an important role in maintaining a redesigned site, an important detail for the Collaborative in choosing the spot.
The existing basketball courts and pool will stay, but an adjacent splashpark will augment the summer space. Four "wild nature areas" are in the works for the corners, incorporating hills, mounds and branches for play-time, as well as stormwater management.
The Free Library’s Blanche A. Nixon/Cobbs Creek Branch
, another competition site, has a unique challenge: It’s a de facto childcare center, with many families using it at a safe after-school space.
"A library is not a typical space to go to for a play space, but they have a lot of interest in creating opportunities for kids to get their crazies out," explains Bosse -- as anyone who has just come from eight hours in school remembers.
The design, titled "Play Structure | Story Structure," came from Ground Reconsidered Landscape Architecture
, Designed for Fun
, Friends Select School
, J R Keller LLC Creative Partnerships
, Meliora Environmental Design LLC
, and the Parent-Infant Center
. It evolved out of on-site brainstorms from Friends Select second-graders.
The plan is inspired by the narrative structure of a book or story. The tri-cornered site will feature new play space in one corner, a fronting "grand plaza" in another, and a "quieter, more meditative area" for the community with plants, shade trees and stormwater management.
The design for the School District’s Haverford Bright Futures in Mill Creek -- dubbed "Bright Futures Chutes and Ladders" -- came from Atkin Olshin Schade Architects
, Meliora Environmental Design, LLC, Viridian Landscape Studio
, International Consultants, Inc.
and the Parent-Infant Center.
"It’s an interesting site because it’s very large, and there’s a very large lawn," says Bosse. The Collaborative found a need for better community connection to the site since the school for three- and four-year-olds has a12:30 p.m. dismissal time. "The school is very open to being a place where other community members can come."
The winning design divides the lawn up in a Chutes and Ladders-style grid, with different play opportunities in each section, along with preserved lawn space, shade, room for adults to sit, and an amphitheater space for community gatherings in the back.
Each site, now with completed designs and budget plans in hand, is equipped to seek the funding to make them a reality.
Writer: Alaina Mabaso
Source: Alexa Bosse, Community Design Collaborative