Playground Shade: A Matter of Necessity

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Shade is an integral, if undervalued, aspect of playground design. Some of the best playgrounds earn their distinction because they offer a range of sun-protected areas where children can play and rest. And some very good playgrounds could be better if they provided more shade to sustain longer stretches of play, protect children from intense,… Read more »

Because It Is There: Six Trends in Playground Climbing Structures

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In a 1923 interview with a New York Times reporter, Himalayan mountain climber George Mallory was asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest. His famous response, “because it is there,” may seem irreverent on its face, but beneath the deadpan lies a deeper truth. The desire to reach the top of things, to push ourselves… Read more »

L.A.’s 9 Best Playgrounds

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Los Angeles is known for fast cars, great beaches, Hollywood celebrities, and beloved musicians, such as the late-Tom Petty. Its parks and playgrounds may be less front and center in area tour guides, but they are nonetheless among the country’s best. From sculptural designs worthy of the boisterous and daring hand of acclaimed L.A.-based architect… Read more »

Wallhollas Around the World

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Once in a while, I’ll stumble on an elaborate new play structure that wakes me up to the possibilities of playgrounds. Like a Picasso in a room full of representational still lives, something daring in the design leaps out and demands attention. The Wallholla is one of those arresting structures. It stands nearly three stories… Read more »

Designer Spotlight: Hitchcock Design Group

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One of my favorite places to go for a walk is the Spruce Plot at the Morton Arboretum, outside Chicago. There is a perceptible hush and temperature drop on entering the forest, as though you’ve been transported to another time and place. A grid of towering spruces crowds out the sky. Dim light filters through… Read more »