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Diary

The Brutalist Playground


The original playgrounds constructed in post-war Britain are mostly forgotten… Brutalism and its initial social agenda are stigmatized.
The exhibition The Brutalist Playground at the Vitra Design Museum presents a new take on those Brutalist playgrounds, conceived as a hybrid somewhere between installation and walk- in sculpture for children and adults.
The exhibition reconstructs fragments from four Brutalist playgrounds: the flying saucer from the Churchill Gardens Estate, the slide tower from the Brownfield Estate, steps from the Brunel Estate (all in London), and a tunnel from the Park Hill Estate in Sheffield.
“Risk” and “Play” are the central themes of the installation.
You would look at the photographs of these playgrounds and ask: How was someone supposed to play on that? It’s not prescribed, and that’s the big unknown about this exhibition – how are people going to inhabit the space?” – says Jane Hall, from the architecture collective Assemble.
Architects and urban planners advocated these kinds of playgrounds as places where children could play as freely as possible. But by the early 1970s these concepts had been discarded and were being criticised by both architects and educators. As a result, many of the playgrounds are now lost.
The Brutalist Playground, until the 30th of April 2017, enables a new, unbiased perspective on the original goals and designs of the architects of the time. In the exhibition children have the opportunity to give free rein to their imagination, just as the original architects intended. But adults, too, are invited to discover the play-scapes of the 1950s–1970s and the architectural ideas expressed in them.

The Brutalist Playground 
until 30th of April, 2017

Vitra Design Museum 
Charles-Eames-Str. 2
Weil am Rhein, Germany

Cover Picture: Installation view, The Brutalist Playground, S1 Artspace , Sheffield, 2016, photo by Alun Bull 

1. Installation view, The Brutalist Playground, RIBA, London, 2015, photo by Tristan Fewings 
2. Installation view, The Brutalist Playground, S1 Artspace, Sheffield, 2016, photo by Alun Bull 
3. Installation view, The Brutalist Playground, RIBA, London, 2015, photo by Tristan Fewings 
4. Churchill Gardens Estate, Pimlico, London, 1978, photo by John Donat 

 

POSTED BY enrico
February 28, 2017