Flying houses over Southern Münsterland

Flying houses over Southern Münsterland

Flying houses over Southern Münsterland

 

In Western Germany, almost every child knows the Ketteler Hof, which is a leisure park situated between the Ruhr Area and Münsterland. No wonder, because on an area of 115,000 sqm., Ketteler Hof provides recreation facilities, particularly for children. Ketteler Hof calls itself the "Join-in Adventure Park" which mainly focuses on play equipment such as slides and climbing facilities which encourage the children to become active themselves.

With good reason, the typical fairground rides are not part of the park concept. The park is usually open from the beginning of April to mid-October, depending inter alia on the regional Easter and Autumn holidays.

Between 2015 and 2017, a new huge indoor hall was built, which since then and regardless of weather conditions, has attracted visitors all year round. The creation of the hall produced an additional but still undeveloped outdoor area situated between the new indoor hall and the access road.

Hence, another play area entirely in line with the park design concept went under planning for this site. Of course, not just any kind of play area, since this is an area which, together with the indoor hall located directly behind, is clearly visible for the guests arriving from the access road. The idea was that both the new area and the indoor hall should become the calling card for the entire park.

 

Wishes

In search of an appropriate playground builder with an appreciation for play structures with an excellent signal effect, the park operators decided to cooperate with merry go round, a Brandenburg playground building company based in Teltow, near Berlin.

The joint brainstorming discussion soon led to an extensive list of wishes. The results were, inter alia:

- high eye-catching facilities, visible from far away

- high level of play value

- cubic and colourful design

- a high number of playing options already visible from outside

 

Apart from the focus on play value and design, high demand on material quality and processing was also of utmost importance due to the considerable investment of the operators in the equipment of the leisure park, which of course should turn out to be profitable over the longest possible time. Also, in view of the rather changeable weather conditions in the Münster region and the expected utilisation pressure, it was important to use highly resistant materials and structural wood protection. However, right from the beginning, in addition to all other planning aspects, the operators' highest priority was placed on the safety of the playing children.

 

Planning

During the planning stage the idea came up to integrate the already existing 315- degree spiral chute into the new play area. The relevant and necessary measuring operations were realised by the qualified technicians of the park operators' staff themselves.

And it was the planner´s turn again. The preparatory phase was followed by a five-week intensive planning and design process, because everybody involved was aware of the big challenge. Almost all popular playground builders have left their traces at Ketteler Hof. But now, the merry-team had the opportunity to add their special touch to the big market show of the German playground construction sector.

As is often the case, here again the limitations of the otherwise not insignificant budget presented a particular challenge, although the planning process had been carefully thought out according to the long list of wishes. This means that all interests had to be considered and balanced whereas the final decisions should result in the implementation of at least the main priorities and key aspects. Because a planning process is not just perfect when you can add nothing more to it, but when there is nothing more to leave out. However, with this attitude, the design team developed their concept and finally made the results transparent by means of lots of details and presentation skills.

Around St. Nicholas Day in December 2017, the design presentation was held towards the board of Ketteler Hof who approved the implementation of the concept shortly before Christmas. After an intense building phase of several months, the play park which consists of six interconnected play towers was inaugurated in early summer 2018. All play towers are characterised by their own and unique construction. In addition, the so called "flying houses" are elevated on the round timber trunks of the towers. The particularly high tower C reaches an overall height of approximately 720 cm. In addition, all houses have their own specific colour and play concept.

 

The towers

The interior of the red tower A is characterised by the web ascent in a split-level arrangement. However, the most exceptional feature is the external front with an embedded transparent climbing wall (facing to the street side).

Immediately adjacent to the red tower is the yellow tower B the special characteristics of which are the multiple climbing possibilities offered in its interior in the midst of a scaffolding forest. Through the adjacent high web tunnel, one gets into tower C which actually consists of two house levels. It is here, where glitter lined pedestals as well as a three-platform mirror maze determine the event.

Depending on the preferred level of playing height, either the web tunnel or the subjacent suspension bridge lead into the dark red tower D which is characterised above all by its access to the aforementioned spiral chute

and which is immediately followed by the light green tower with its wobbly climbing levels made of rubber membrane.

Finally, a small web tunnel leads to tower F with its platforms made of rubber mats. The sliding pole made of stainless-steel forms the end of this area.

For the first time ever merry go round applied HPL panel material (high pressure laminates) for the external facades. As usual with merry go round, the frame constructions were manufactured by carpenters. Depending on the design and characteristics of the different towers, either square or round openings with coloured acrylic glass have been inserted through which the towers, especially on sunny days, produce a highly appealing colour climate.

In the meantime, the park has nearly completed its first playing season and has been very well accepted since the opening this past spring. There is no doubt that many good playing periods will follow. Although during dark winter days it will be quite calm in the play area, the eye catcher function from the access road towards the indoor hall will still remain. Thus, even in winter the children can look forward to the first warm rays of sun. And then again, very much in the spirit of merry go round, it is time again "to get out together and have fun".

 

Photo: Ulrich Paulig & Co. merry go round OHG

 

Play park Flying Houses

Building phase: Spring 2018

Owner: Ketteler Hof GmbH, 45721 Haltern am See / Lavesum

Concept design and construction: Ulrich Paulig & Co merry go round OHG, Teltow (Germany)

 

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