Play Corb

23 Jun

I am fascinated by the unsung way in which children’s play and architecture interact. I keep stumbling on quotes and examples, say once every year. They probably symbolise my own interests and attitudes to play. Informing what makes me tick. Like play Architecture reaches across society, political, creative, psychological, social, cultural, one could go on.

I just love these two examples


Corbusier 1955 impression of Modulor Man, cast in concrete in Nantes, affirmed by playing child.

And this quote from the Barbican Bauhaus exhibition, which I blogged previously,

“as children for children

Play, festivities and other extra-curricular activities were an important part of artistic and daily activity at the Bauhaus. A number of the school’s masters, including Feininger and Klee, were raising children and designed puppets and toys for them. In the tradition of nineteenth-century educational reformers such as Friedrich Froebel, play was also seen as a way to tap into the creative imagination and as an important part of learning. Master Itten incorporated these ideas into his classroom teaching ‘I suggested that we should make toys for the next few weeks. So I struck a powerful blow to the old academic tradition of the nude and drawing from nature and I am leading all creative activity back to its roots, to play’.”

He would obviously have made a good Playworker!

and now, just visited the RIBA exhibition The Brutalist Playground

 Well worth a visit even if only to pick up the excellent catalogue/broadsheet with more details about Architects and playspaces and an interesting set of lectures. As someone trained in Architecture and having lived my life on the edge looking in, I am fascinated by the tension between the arrogance of architects believing that they can create places for children to play and some of the visionary ideas they have produced. If only we could share Aldo Van Eyck’s vision of Public Realm.


Not Aldo Van Eyck, but not bad! Friedrichshafen public space. I rest my case!


2 Responses to “Play Corb”

  1. Mark Gladwin June 25, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

    When it comes to the interface between architecture and play, I think Colin Ward is a more inspiring example than the brutalists. Quentin Stevens in his Ludic City also makes the case for play (by adults) in cities as a dialectic response to, and subversion of, physically and socially authoritarian design.

    • grumpysutcliffe June 26, 2015 at 3:42 pm #

      I absolutely agree, Colin Ward is among the saints of play, although I did think that the playground designed by Powell & Moya for Churchill gardens was pretty good, but then I would not include them amongst the brutalists!

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