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15.10.2015 - Ausgabe: 5/2015

Monuments Square Berlin – the playground

By Eva-Maria Boemans (TDB - Landscape Architect Thomanek Duquesnoy Boemans Partnership)


The Monuments Square forms an attractive passageway from the city area to the green network of paths that make up the Schöneberger loop. The new city square is situated right next to the locomotive depot of the Deutsches Technikmuseum (German Museum of Technology) and fits in, taking into account the historical role it once played as part of the railway network.

The theme of the design pays tribute to the history of the location, offering pictures from the early history of the railway and freight transport. There is an interplay of shapes, materials and colours which are all used to remind visitors of the history of the square in front of the locomotive depot.

The playground has areas for various age groups on display, taking into account their play requirements, while simultaneously making it possible to link play zones with varying degrees of difficulty. The southern zone is intended primarily for smaller children. The sand play area is supplemented with only a small number of individual play elements. The largest segment of the park is formed by the climbing trail, which, thanks to its demanding passages, takes the needs of older children into account. Both play and passing the time are possible around the park boundary, which is suitable for all age groups. 


Individual areas

The Climbing Trail can be viewed as a sequence of movements with steadily increasing demands on motor skills as the height of the trail increases. Children start near the ground at the fixed entry point and climb steadily up the structure, which becomes more difficult the higher they get, towards the ‘lookout’ point – a round wooden platform from where both a tunnel slide and rope ladders lead to the ground. Access to the trail can be gained at several points along the sides.

Through its use of solid timber logs, the lowest entry point to the resource (‘Timber Transport’) is marked as a solid and simple climbing, seating and balancing area. The subsequent section (‘Bridge and Tunnel’) progresses from solid wood underfoot to a delicate rope bridge, with a tunnel tube underneath the bridge making it possible for children to cross from one side of the trail to the other. As the trail continues upward you reach a small wooden platform that acts as a stopover point. This point can be accessed via a climbing net. The next highest section of the trail consists of a combination of a rope bridge with a metal ring suspended underneath it, which can be used as a revolving element for resting or passing the time. The highest part of the trail (‘Fine Line’), a narrow balance beam with rope guides located at each side, is the demanding end of the ascent. By traversing this point you will reach the ‘lookout’ point, a round wooden platform from where a speedy descent via the rope ladder or the tunnel slide is possible. The area directly beneath the platform can also be used for climbing.

A combination of horizontal bars and a large hammock combine to form its own element that doesn’t focus so much on playful competition so much as offering the opportunity to relax.

Cattle Transport: A see-saw platform that encourage interactive play. This element can be used by individual children or several at once either sitting or standing.

Found Objects: Elements that could have been borrowed directly from the repertoire of the freight transport industry lie scattered in the sand. Wooden beams, wooden barrels, metal tubes, cow silhouette shapes; all these objects can be used individually for play and give the playground an unmistakable character.


Material and manufacturing

The climbing trail is constructed from stainless steel and wood, powder coated, total length (without the slide): 9 metres. Total height: from 0 metres climbing to 6.2 metres. Manufactured by the Spiel-Bau GmbH.


The necessary means of enclosing the playground is not just a boundary; it constitutes part of the overall appearance. As a result of the exposed location of the playground in the central section of the Monuments Square, the careful design of the fence is significant here. By using a stainless steel net and the transparent optical impression it creates, the play area does not appear isolated; rather it seems to be an integral part of the entire area. The interior of the enclosure includes partial functional gentrification thanks to the simple seating and balancing opportunities at different heights.


Photo: Eva-Maria Boemans



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