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03.12.2020 - Ausgabe: 6/2020

Playful living

© Berliner Seilfabrik GmbH & Co.

Children love to be active and out in the fresh air. They discover the world and continuously develop socially and physically. Fred Rogers, a pioneer in American children’s television, once said: “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” A varied playground serves as a learning space. It stimulates children’s imagination and promotes their development. It has been proven that children often acquire important skills in playgrounds that they will need until they reach adulthood – be it on a physical, mental or social level. However, playgrounds can also become a meeting place for adults, where they can establish and maintain social contacts. Here, they can relax after work together with their family or friends and neighbours and wind down in company at the end of the day. 

It is therefore hardly surprising that more and more housing associations are investing in attractive playgrounds to make the dwelling environs more appealing to families with children, especially in urban residential areas. Apart from the play value, the visual appearance of a playground is also relevant for its attractiveness. The design and colour scheme of playgrounds can help to create atmospheric and high-quality open spaces. 


Düsseldorf’s new “Grafental” urban district  

This is precisely what the Greenbox landscape architects, who were in charge of designing the playground in a residential complex in Düsseldorf, had in mind. Greenbox develop sound and sustainable concepts that are tailored to the specific needs of the people and the environment. The landscape architects attach great importance to a holistic view of architecture and landscape. 

Düsseldorf’s “Grafental” district is considered a green oasis. The many private and communal green spaces blend harmoniously with the surrounding forests and parks of the city. Large lawns, ornamental grasses, shady trees and versatile playgrounds guarantee high-quality housing and leisure.

The bright orange rope of the playground equipment in “Grafental” is downright attractive. With its helical shape, the “Twist” play sculpture not only provides challenging climbing fun for the children from the adjacent new housing development, but it is also visually appealing in that its organic design contrasts beautifully with the clear edges of the surrounding residential buildings. In addition, its abstract design lets children’s imagination run wild. The children from the neighbourhood can always use new accesses to climb, play and explore the play equipment, offering them plenty of opportunities to develop and implement their own play ideas. 

The “Arch Swing”, which is colour-matched to the “Twist”, also has an elegant design and provides swinging fun for several children at the same time.


Leutewitzer Ring building complex in Dresden  

Another impressive example of attractive playground design in a residential environment is the varied playground in the inner courtyard of the building complex on Leutewitzer Ring in Dresden. The centrepiece of the playground is the “Cosmo” rope play structure, which is complemented by various add-on elements such as a sliding pole, access net and two climbing walls. It gives children the opportunity to climb together in a three-dimensional space. This is not only great fun, but in particular also helps to improve spatial awareness. At the same time, playing together on the net is an important experience in terms of social behaviour, as the children can interact with each other and help each other when climbing. 

Another highlight of this playground is the combination of two playhouses, which are specially designed to meet the needs of small children. The mud tables in the lower part of the larger playhouse encourage children to engage in role play, promoting speech, language development and social skills in a playful way. An ascent ramp makes it possible to reach the upper part of the smaller house by crawling before crossing the net bridge to get to the larger one of the two playhouses. A slide suitable for small children takes them on an exhilarating yet safe ride all the way down to the ground. Sliding is a form of movement that has a positive effect on spatial awareness and enhances children’s balance and coordination skills. The spinning “Picadilly Circus” Playpoint tops off the playground. All playground equipment has been manufactured by Berliner Seilfabrik. 

“Having been dismantled in the 1990s, the playground, which had once been built in the 1980s, was now to be revamped to upgrade the residential environment,” explained IGC Ingenieurgemeinschaft Cossebaude GmbH, the consulting engineers in charge of the planning. “The elaborately designed residential play and recreation area has been designed to offer something for different age groups. It is a playground, fitness trail and meeting place for the neighbourhood at the same time.”


Kräutersiedlung in Dresden  

The Kräutersiedlung housing estate is located on the western outskirts of Dresden. Its prominent location on Gorbitzer Hang provides residents with a magnificent view of the city and the Dresden Elbe slopes. In order to enhance the attractiveness of this former typical prefabricated concrete tower block development and to meet the increased requirements of Dresden’s housing market, the Eisenbahner-Wohnungsbaugenossenschaft Dresden eG has implemented an exemplary pilot project aimed at upgrading the houses, flats and the residential environment as part of the urban redevelopment scheme.

The “Kräuterterrassen” – architecture meets nature. With regard to the factor “present-day housing”, this means: in the case of the playground in the Kräutersiedlung, where a total of 184 modern flats were built as part of cooperative housing, Ingenieurgemeinschaft Cossebau has also opted for playground equipment manufactured by Berliner Seilfabrik. 

The combination of pink tubes, white spheres and the green façade elements of the “Trii” tree houses on the playground of the Kräuterterrassen is as bright and colourful as flowers. A total of three of the playhouses with different heights were installed here, the lower two being connected by a net bridge and equipped with the add-on elements slide, climbing net and ladder. The high tree house features an exciting access net, making the play equipment also attractive for older children. At the top, the playhouse offers space to chill out together. “The theme of this playground was herbs and naturalness. Its integration into the green spaces was a key element of the planning,” according to the landscape architects. This has been achieved in an impressive way thanks to the flower colour design and the natural look of the bamboo panels. 



All three projects are impressive examples of how a living environment can be enhanced by a varied playground design. Here the children of the surrounding neighbourhood can play and let off steam to their heart’s content or, as Fred Rogers would say: “do their jobs”.

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