Ruckle Street Playground
Commission to design an inner city playground. Design collaboration with Casey May.
The neighborhood residents’ desired an urban play space constructed with repurposed, locally-sourced materials. The design attempts to offer a playful, natural, durable, and multi-generational opportunity for play and exploration. Open-ended forms were intentionally provided in the design of the space to allow for indeterminate play. These open-ended forms enable multiple interpretations during active play and imagination.
There are three main areas in the Ruckle Steet Park Play Space: the City Maze, the Meadow, and the Urban Forest.
City Maze is a network of multi-level balance beams that mimic the interconnected network of city streets. At the lowest level, the toddlers can walk the maze at-grade, navigating low plantings and finding their way to the play structure at the center. The
Toddler Play Structure provides climbing and interior spaces for play as well forming a skyline type elements as a compliment to the maze. The maze grows in height to challenge the older children’s abilities and the interconnected beams allow for low climbing challenges. Intimate spaces and corners can be experienced at the interior of the elevated maze. Adults will be comfortable to sit at the middle and highest level as they interact with their children. Formally sited in relation to the maze are manufactured stepping stones. These are concrete forms cast into the landscape at varying heights and diameters that provide a tangential climbing and balance experience for the visitors.
The Meadow space is an open green that will allow for flexible programming. The space might be utilized for neighborhood birthday parties, yoga, picnics or just reading a book on a blanket. Visually, the Meadow creates some open-space and separation between the City Maze and the Urban Forest.
The Urban Forrest utilizes reclaimed telephone poles to create a woodland experience within the setting of an urban park. Interspersed are planted trees that provide a valuable contrast between man-made and natural. Suspended above in the forrest are platforms made from recycled satellite dishes. Built with ropes and challenge courses as a reference this element offers older children and teens an alternative space to interact with.