‘Tis the Season for Play: A Holiday Wish List for Playgrounds

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With the holiday season in full swing, we’d like to showcase some recently released play options we’re really excited about. We like these designs for distinct reasons. Some uncover the enriching possibilities of the playground for children with atypical physical or cognitive needs. Others are especially innovative and daring in their designs. Still others create… Read more »

Doubling Down on the Wallholla: Washington, D.C. Micropark by Lee & Associates to Open This Fall

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An 8,000-square-foot micropark in northeast Washington D.C., scheduled to open this fall at the corner of Third and L Streets NE, is, functionally speaking, two parks in one. Half dog park, half children’s play area, the park designed by the architecture firm Lee & Associates and now under construction is the latest example of how… Read more »

Meet the Vertical Playground: The Wallholla

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Verticality has been an architectural obsession since the time of the first skyscrapers in the late nineteenth century. But, at playgrounds, the idea of building lofty, multi-story structures on a small footprint is relatively young. Of course, with a higher percentage of the population dwelling in cities than ever before, and land at a premium,… Read more »

The 7 Best Indoor Playgrounds to Beat the Winter Blues

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When the temperature drops to single digits and below, as it did here in Chicago last week, the bite of winter can be too severe for children to play outside. For parents, that can mean struggling with cabin fever and restless kids. Fortunately, indoor play spaces are becoming more and more prevalent, especially in urban… 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 »

Twelve Years Later: Revisiting Susan Solomon’s Call to Revitalize American Playgrounds

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The book American Playgrounds: Revitalizing Community Space, by writer and architectural historian Susan Solomon, opens with a scathing—and forcibly blunt—indictment of modern American playgrounds, to wit: “Existing American playgrounds are a disaster.” The picture Solomon paints in the introduction of her 276-page historical review and contemporary playground study is familiar to anyone who has seen the… 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 »

Roof top playgrounds by CAD Details

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What You Need to Know Before Building a Rooftop Playground   When you imagine a playground you’ll commonly think of an open expanse of freshly cut green grass, shiny new playground equipment, and children laughing. That image, while still promising for individuals in rural areas, isn’t viable for many urban environments. Instead of frolicking in… Read more »

Micro-Playgrounds: Six Tips for Designing for a Small Space

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If increasing urbanization and limited housing stock has led to a wave of micro-units, rooming houses, and residential hotels in spatially constrained cities such as New York and San Francisco, there is a corollary in the world of playgrounds. For lack of a better term: the micro-playground. These compact designs, which typically fit on footprints… Read more »

Wait, This Is Exercise? Playground Equipment for Fitness and Fun

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For the last few weeks, we’ve been talking about ways to get kids moving. While good options for fitness are nearly endless, playgrounds are still at the top of the list. Studies have shown that those who exercise outdoors tend to do so more often than those who primarily work out indoors. And it seems… Read more »