We’re still in the dog days of summer which means plenty of outside time while the weather is nice. All of that outdoor play has us dreaming about playing on the playground when we were little. Times have changed and so have the play structures, which have now grown to become architectural sculptures for kids. Inspired by the current exhibition at the Design Museum Boston called Extraordinary Playscapes, and Playworld’s reintroduction of NYC architect Richard Dattner’s iconic 60s PlayCubes designs (above), we did a little digging to see what kids get to play on these days and the result is 10 inspiring play structures we wish we’d had back then.Photo © Masaki Koizumi
Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam is the artist behind the clever crocheted architectural sculptures that are like children’s fantasies realized. This one, Wonder Space II, was done in collaboration with Interplay, at the Hakone Open-Air Museum.
Located in Santiago, Chile, ELEMENTAL designed the Children’s Bicentennial Park playground on an unused hillside, complete with tree houses, swings, a forest of water spheres, more than 60 slides, and this caged play structure kids can climb in without falling off.
Snøhetta was one of three architectural firms invited to contribute to the expansion of Swarovski Kristallwelten (Swarovski Crystal Worlds) in Wattens, Austria. One of their three elements was this enclosed play tower that spans four floors with plenty of places to climb.
Dubbed “Europe’s Longest Playground”, Aventura – Play Mountain is located in Medebach, Germany in a family resort that’s surrounded by nature. The massive structure, made by Berliner, begins at the foot of Bromberg Hill and winds its way up through tunnels, bridges, balancing elements, and rubber mats all the way to the top.
Landscape Structures designed this boat-inspired play structure in Melbourne, Australia at the Glen Eira Sports and Aquatic Center. Working with photos of the adjacent building, they created a curvy and unique structure that complemented the design.
Adjacent to Chicago’s Millennium Park, the Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates designed Maggie Daley Park is filled with different sections for various activities, including the Play Garden. Spanning 3-acres, the Play Garden was designed to capture the imagination through custom play structures and sculptures.
This 35-foot structure built inside of Columbus’ The Commons was designed by Luckey Climbers, known for building unique, one-of-a-kind three-dimensional sculptures kids can climb all over.
Located in Singapore, the Interlace playground, by Carve, was designed to look like the surrounding residential buildings, which are 31, six-story tall buildings stacked in a hexagonal fashion. Interlace is made up of four large containers, stacked just like the residences, and filled with climbing and sliding elements within its maze-like interior.
The Crooked Houses playground was designed by Monstrum in Copenhagen, Denmark as a place to remind the people of the history of its Brumleby location. They created a playground that adults wouldn’t mind seeing and that kids would love playing on with little houses made of safe rubber. There are climbing grips, slides, and balancing walkways to get across.
Overlooking the city center of Wiesbaden, Germany, the Schulberg park was given new life with the help of ANNABAU who designed this monstrous architectural structure kids can climb all over and hang from.