Learning Opportunity

The Five Fields Play Structure has no purpose, and that is exactly what the designers intended. The project is a landscape for childish exploration. It shuns function and standard in favour of liberation.

The Architects Collaborative (TAC) designed and developed the experimental Five Fields neighbourhood in the early 1950s, seeking to foster community through the creation of shared common land. Over the decades, the community has continued to care for and respect the land – ensuring the success of TAC’s experiment.

In designing the Five Fields Play Structure, Matter Design and FR|SCH Projects wanted to harness, and pay homage to, this communal aspect. The design embodies the exploratory spirit of children, as nurtured by a whole community. They say it takes a village; according to Matter Design and FR|SCH it also takes a village to truly imagine, to truly play.

Materially, the playscape offers diverse but equal means of engagement. Visual, auditory and kinesthetic elements create distinct moments of use. Twenty-foot-tall vertical elements contribute to the structure at one moment, but extend into the landscape – from function to whimsy. Levitating volumes overlap at certain points to create hidden thresholds and colourful graphics suggest entries and moments of use without being overtly prescriptive. Preconceived architectural elements like doors and stairs do exist, but lead to nowhere. What more could you ask for? What more could you imagine?




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