Found Sound - a musical instrument
From the outset of the Old Ford Primary playground project, erect architecture were keen to involve children into the conception and building of their playgrounds. We wanted this involvement to go beyond producing children's drawings and talking about it. It was important for us to include an element of learning and spatial awareness. We had proposed to create a Musical Instrument, which was to be conceived and built in a series of experimental workshops with yr 2 pupils once the playground was complete. How did we go about it?

A brief introductory talk supported by video clips demonstrated the creation of sound through experimenting with found objects. The pupils went on to experiment with different sounds and techniques using many collected, recycled and found objects. The sounds were soon to be focused on expressing emotions: happy, sad, excited, calm, scary (tying in with the curriculum: ‘Who am I?’ ‘What are my emotions?’ ). During the following session the children built small installations to explore these emotional sounds spatially.

Based on these installations, erect architecture proposed a concept for the final built piece: Found objects were to be suspended within a cube to define four different emotional spaces: The open happy space challenging children to jump in order to reach bright sounding objects is followed by the curved low anticipation tunnel with ambiguous sounds. In a surprise moment, the tunnel opens up into the tall and sombre calm space, complete with chair and tree&sky view. Different floor finishes support the different sound qualities. The children mocked up the volumes of the three different spaces according to their spatial requirements (’How tall does it need to be to be reached by jumping?’) whilst the frame was erected by an artist/contractor. After exploring the sound quality of the found objects, the children placed the sound objects within the frame and assisted the suspending of the objects. The opening performance is pending...
RIBA Design for Education Charette
erect architecture was selected to take part in the Design for Education Charette, which took place at the RIBA on Feb 6th.
Our clients for the day were 4 year 7 pupils from Southfields Community College in Wandsworth, a 1400 pupil secondary school also offering an extensive range of adult education classes as well as community facilities.

During a long and intense day we made a proposal for the re-design of the external school grounds. The formulation of shared use spaces for school and community as well as measures to create a social environment whilst deterring the formation of gangs were at the centre of our investigations.
Exploring - with the users: What is play?
This week's (Feb 09, 2009, issue 24) Building Design Drawing Board focuses on two of erect architecture's recent playground projects, Found Sound and Cranston Estate. In the interview we discuss our methods of involving users in exploration and design from the very beginning, appropriating forgotten spaces and found objects to widen the brief as well as challenge and expand the conception of play and the site. The process not only instills a sense of ownership but during the workshops the participants obtain skills which allow them to change and add to the playgrounds in the future.
See BDonline for the full article.