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12.06.2012 - Ausgabe: 3/2012

Experience means making a difference to daily routine

At the Ruhrpark in Oberhausen there is an open, generous area of park land laid out in the English Garden style and bordering the Ruhr embankment on the southern side. Next to a biotope and a playground, an open pavilion invites you to linger a while. The special attraction is the adventure-filled play tower.


At the same time, the proximity of the nearby city boundaries of Mulheim brings very many visitors from the surrounding area. The Rurhpark is the destination for numerous school excursions and is the regular site for Oberhausen's Municipal Holiday Games.

The play facilities on the play meadow in the Ruhrpark had become outdated and for a long time had not fulfilled their original purpose. The City of Oberhausen planned to create sufficiently lucrative play facilities for the Alstaden district which would also have an attraction for the whole district. The individual play areas which had been laid out, without any design concept, higgledy-piggledy alongside each other were to be dismantled and replaced with a large adventure playground. To gain space, the existing beach volley ball areas were dismantled and re-erected within the park bounds.

Description of the criteria

The Children's Office of the Children's Education Service of the City of Oberhausen, together with the children of the immediate neighbourhood, had formed the scheme as part of a community project. "Play as Adventure" was put forward as the title. Adventure means experience! Experience means getting away from daily routine!

A sensational model of an adventure tower was created in close cooperation between the Children's Office, OGM GmbH (Oberhausener Gebäudemanagement GmbH) and the manufacturers. For the planners of the play tower this meant: something polygonal, oblique-angled, with neither a horizontal nor a vertical sense of order, something rugged and angular, crooked and slanted combined with a mixture of all sorts of materials and colourful posts. Finally the plans, based on an initial three-dimensional model made by Klaus Bausen (OGM), were refined with the help of the play equipment manufacturer, Kinderland Emsland Spielgeräte and then implemented.
"There should be a central tower. The children think it should go up, up and away. There should be a combination of various materials. Its distinguishing feature should lie in the two points of sustainability and ease of maintenance. There should be climbing facilities for every age group and every degree of difficulty. And different and large recreation rooms and chill-out rooms should be created. Kinderland Emsland Spielgeräte has taken up the challenge!" said Mario Hampel, Managing Director of Kinderland Emsland Spielgeräte.


The Adventure Tower

From this has arisen a sensational play landscape, which is almost unique in the public arena and is already creating interest in the industry. The total height of the play tower is approximately 14 meters. The uppermost play level is at a maximum height of six metres. From this point you reach the ground through a long tubular slide. On a lower level, a free-fall slide offers thrills. The play tower is equipped with a variety of different opportunities for play, such as climbing, moving hand over hand along ropes, balancing and sliding. Different entries and exits give children, depending on their age, access to the various levels of the play tower. All the levels open up interesting views over the Ruhrpark. In the lower area there are yet more play and recreation facilities for all age groups. The slanting surfaces, the winding structure, a variety of materials and the bright colour scheme mean that the whole building promises adventure even at a first glance. Children can play and have adventures here, while discovering their own limits and improving their motor skills.

The surrounding area is furnished for balancing and lounging, with a pergola and rubber pads.
The whole project was tested for safety by the TÜV (Technical Inspection Association) both during production and after it had been installed. The Children's Office is looking for playground godparents who will distribute play materials from prepared play materials container. This will promote team games even more and contact between parents and children will be strengthened. Pollution, dirt and damage are reported directly to the Children's Office – this means that things can be sorted out more quickly.

"As part of the economic stimulus package we had a unique opportunity to create something unparalleled for the children in Oberhausen. This was too good a chance to miss. Something had to be created that would give children in a wide age range huge fun for a long time to come. From the feedback from the "first" play season, we can say that this has been a success. There are lots of activities happening in the playground. It has become in the meantime the destination for families, groups of nursery school children and class outings. The play tower is unique, because it is something completely new of its type. Nothing like it will be built anywhere else. The authorities in Oberhausen could not afford something of this size, with play facilities of this sort.
It was important for us to create an attraction, which every child can use free of charge. In particular, the play tower presents challenges for all age groups. Here, children can test out their boundaries. We are convinced that we have chosen the correct path and that the play tower was a worth-while investment for the future" says Stefan Breuer from the City of Oberhausen.
The gross construction costs totalled 405,000.00 Euro

Photos: Kinderland Emsland Spielgeräte

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