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Innovative playground installation at UArts attracts all ages

Twenty-four-year-old Temple architecture students Nick Auman and Keith Hartwig might have outgrown the monkey bars, but that doesn't mean they don't like to play.

Their exhibit, "Between Space," an interactive sculpture and installation, challenges the way we think about playground landscapes. A series of suspended nets designed to react to the presence of an individual, "Between Space" is currently on display at the University of the Arts as part of the Hamilton Hall Arts Initiative.

"Inspiration for the project came after observing the conditions of several public Philadelphia playgrounds in which static play elements were isolated in a rigid organizational grid," explains Auman. He and Hartwig concluded that a low-tech, low-cost solution was possible, and that it could improve the quality of public space in Philly while also expanding user reach beyond children.
In the display, a full-scale prototype of the playground piece (alongside models) shows how the net could be expanded to create an entire playground system.
The two young architects have been working on “Between Space” since the summer 2011. The net is composed of 560 individual knots, a process that took longer than initially expected.

"The scale of work that we proposed was difficult to complete," says Auman. "We were using third party fabricators to create specialized components that we did not have the means to create ourselves." 

Their efforts were well worth it. "We envision the project being adopted by individual neighborhood parks as a temporary event installation," explains Auman, who says they have already created a conceptual design for how the installation could be used at Penn Treaty Park.

"Between Spaces" will be on display at 320 S. Broad Street through March 22.

Source:  Nick Auman and Keith Hartwig, Designers, Between Space
WriterGreg Meckstroth
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