Aventura – The Play Mountain

Europe’s longest playground equipment

Aventura – The Play Mountain

Europe’s longest playground equipment

It has a shaky start at the foot of the Bromberg (old stone quarry). A large entrance net leads into a treehouse-like tower – and that’s just the beginning, the beginning of what is probably Europe’s longest public space climbing facility. At 168 m long, a succession of wildly different tunnels and bridges, balance play elements and rubber mats snake their way through various towers towards the top of the mountain.

In Medebach, a holiday location in Sauerland which attracts walkers during the summer and skiers in winter, “Aventura – der SpielBerg” was officially unveiled at the end of September 2015. The site was already officially authorised by the TÜV for use a month ago. The new “playground” is on the grounds of the neighbouring Center Parcs, a family holiday village, and is free to access and use for all residents of and visitors to the region. The planning for the construction of a large leisure facility began several years ago. The Kyrill storm caused substantial damage in the area when it hit in 2007. EU aid money has been used to support the realisation of the project. The original concept for the climbing facility was based around the elements water and air. The playground, like the wind that blows up the mountain or the water that flows down it, was designed to be on a slope. The project was realised by the Gasse|Schumacher|Schramm architect’s firm in Paderborn in collaboration with Berliner Seilfabrik.

 

The implementation

“The scale is something special. The facility demanded a lot of attention, particularly in terms of project management, and linked abilities in the field of engineering and production. The challenge lay in being able to realise this huge project while ensuring that other projects and customers were not neglected,” explains Marius Kotte, architect and head of construction and development at Berliner Seilfabrik. This was achieved by dividing the project into nine separate parts. Each part was treated as an individual contract during the manufacturing process. This helped ensure that everything was completed on time while maintaining a comprehensive overview of the entire project.

What is also notable is that certain elements were developed during the course of the project. Existing products were also creatively modified during the process. The connecting elements, for example, were linked using trestles and platforms, with 9.4 m-high steel posts jutting skywards.

New products conceived during the project are, among others, the towers. The highest is 7.8 m high. The free fall height never exceeds the maximum of 3 metres. Inside there are nets that lead visitors to a long spiral tunnel slide. Another tower is eye-catching due to its special shape. Here you can admire the beautiful view from above on a lookout point net. These towers are encased in bamboo panels. Berliner Seilfabrik uses bamboo because it lasts longer than wood and, in addition, has a better environmental footprint. It is a grass which grows again after it has been harvested, as opposed to tree wood.

Large spheres hang in two towers like cocoons between the posts. Plate-shaped nets provide an access point. These elements should remain as transparent as possible, yet still safe and secure. That’s why they were surrounded by close-mesh security nets. These were also used in one spot where a small gorge needed to be negotiated and where the classic suspension bridge leads over a rock face. There are 22 connecting elements, which used circa 2,000 m meters of bright red rope during installation. Apart from the popular net tunnels and classic suspension bridges, there are also new crossings, such as the Liana Bridge, where a narrow net bridge is hung from long ropes, or a tunnel that is enclosed in a rubber membrane. There is an especially challenging hanging-balancing-combination where being not fully grown is an advantage. Another particular challenge is the so-called chess board bridge. Square shaped rubber membranes are stretched between holding ropes. Children hop, rock around and relax here.

 

Foundations and fall protection

Almost 36 tonnes of steel was delivered to the construction site. Of the almost 100 posts that were used, the heaviest weighed 450 kg on its own. During the test drilling carried out in the preliminary stages, solid rock was encountered near the surface. When digging the foundations for the facility, it turned out to be softer shale. The foundation work for the posts needed to be re-evaluated in the manufacturing process.

New levels were created on the surfaces where the towers and platforms stand. Wood chips were given the thumbs-up as the fall protection of choice, as they blend into the natural surroundings in terms of colour and ensure a safe fall. A genuine fall protection alternative for the slopes is turf. It integrates into the landscape seamlessly as it is a natural element, and will transform into a flower meadow in the course of time, without losing any of its fall protection qualities.

The gradient of the slope is approximately 21 percent with significant variations at different parts of the ascent. The technical solutions provided by Berliner Seilfabrik enabled smaller modifications to be carried out on site. The brackets, which together with various connectors link ropes, chains and pipes with the posts, are height-adjustable. This meant that any potential deviations from the original plan caused by the landscape of the construction site could be compensated for.

 

For both younger and older ones

The ascent isn’t easy and for those who perhaps aren’t brave enough to tackle the towers and the bridges, an additional area has been created for smaller children at the bottom of the facility where they can run wild. Two large birds nest swings and a small treehouse “Trii”, replete with slide, invite them to play and have fun. There is a fixed path that runs parallel to the climbing facility for all those accompanying the children.

 

Photo: Berliner Seilfabrik

 

 

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