Designer Profile: School Zone Institute’s Anne Taylor on Learning by Design

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Around the start of the new millennium, Anne Taylor, Ph.D., the 85-year-old president of School Zone Institute (501-c-3), gave the keynote speech at a conference called Better Schools For a New Century, hosted in San Francisco by the America Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Committee on Architecture for Education. Then the director of the Institute for… Read more »

Designer Profile: Jennifer Brooke on Meaningful Accessibility

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Jennifer Brooke was first attracted to landscape design as an undergraduate architecture student at the Parsons School of Design in New York. The founder and principal of Massachusetts-based Lemon Brooke, a firm she and husband Christian Lemon jointly direct, Brooke says the performative aspects of landscape design, akin to dance in its ephemeral movement and… Read more »

Designer Profile: Holly D. Ben Joseph

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Holly D. Ben-Joseph, principal of the eponymous Concord, Massachusetts-based landscape design firm, shares a workspace in The Bradford Mill with a brain trust of artists, interior designers, and engineers. It’s a wellspring of creative energy and it keeps her open to new ideas. She founded the practice in January 2005 after leaving Johansson Design Collaborative,… Read more »

Designer Profile: German manufacturer Spiel-Bau

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After the re-unification of Germany in 1990, there was a great need of infra structure improvements in the eastern regions. The development of playgrounds and play environments for children was essential. Seizing this demand, Juergen Schilling and Joern Schaefer founded Spiel-Bau GmbH and were immediately successful with their innovative designs of playground equipment. Since then,… Read more »

Designer Profile: Noa Haim and Collective Paper Aesthetics

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The journey of Dutch designer Noa Haim into paper structure began in 2008 at the London Festival of Architecture, where she developed a participatory installation as part of her graduate work as an architecture student at the Berlage Institute. With the assistance of the FabLab Den Haag and volunteer teams of builders, Haim created a… Read more »

Playgrounds Spin into the Next Generation

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Ever tried twirling on a playground spinner as an adult? Did it make your stomach turn? It’s not uncommon. When adults spin, the centrifugal motion can make them feel dizzy and uncomfortable, even sick. But spatial disorientation is good for our brain in appropriate doses, which is why sitting at long meeting or on an… Read more »

Designer Profile: Native Hawaiian Angelica Rockquemore on the ASLA National Diversity Summit and Natural Learning Spaces

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Angelica Rockquemore is a bit of a whiz kid. A landscape designer and planner at Honolulu-based HHF Planners, the Fulbright Fellow’s decorated education and professional career includes research and planning of Japanese gardens in Kyoto, design of outdoor play areas in Maori language immersion preschools, neighborhood concept development in Portland, and ethnographic research and writing… Read more »

Designer Profile: Nathan Elliott, Principal at the Office of James Burnett on Persistence in Playground Design

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Nathan Elliott didn’t always follow his creative instincts. The principal with the Office of James Burnett in Solana Beach, California, says he went into computer science at Louisiana State University on the model of his brother, but “flubbed out” of the weeder courses. His girlfriend was enrolled in LSU’s landscape architecture program at the time,… Read more »

Designer Profile – Aldo van Eyck: A Playground for Every Neighborhood

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In 1947, when the structuralist architect Aldo van Eyck built his first playground in Amsterdam, Dutch cities were in a state of crisis. The city’s infrastructure lay ravaged by World War II, the birth rate was accelerating, and there was little available housing stock. At the time, most existing playgrounds were privately owned and accessible… Read more »

Designer Profile: Lynn Wolff of Copley Wolff Design Group

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Shortly before they co-founded Copley Wolff Design Group, Lynn Wolff asked John Copley to describe his childhood. They were both teaching at Boston Architecture College at the time, and had a standing Tuesday meeting to discuss their classes and projects. Ms. Wolff’s question wasn’t that unusual. The surprise came, mid-sentence, as Copley was talking about… Read more »

Designer Profile: Joe Frost, The Contemporary Father of Play Advocacy

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As a child on a small farm in southwestern Arkansas, Joe Frost played with his friends in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains. He played war and chase, built dams in the stream behind his grade school, and piled on his classmates in a game called “Dog Pile.” He devoured library books, government  pamphlets, comics,… Read more »

Designer Profile: Michelle Mathis, RLA, Learning Landscapes Design

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Eight years ago, on a five-day cycling tour of Berlin, Michelle Mathis stumbled upon her first bonafide adventure playground. What she saw caught her off guard: along several hundred linear feet of boardwalk, children unaccompanied by parents were using hammers, hand saws, and pieces of scrap wood to build forts, some as high as twenty… Read more »