Clapton Common Play area

The Clapton Common Play area is an intensely used new playground comprising an enclosed under fives area and a challenging play structure for older children. To protect the open character of the Common the design of the play structures blends into and visually extends the row of existing mature London plane trees.
In the under 5s area the natural shape of fallen trees generates the form of play dens, which nestle within their branches. The rich texture of the bark is contrasted with slatted machines timber.
The challenging structure for the older age group comprises of treetrunks and machined columns supporting an array of ropes, nets and bridges.
The use of timber (both sawn and ‘natural’) ensures the playground sits lightly within its context.
Engagement and presentation events held for this project proved hugely popular. The design was developed to accommodate the wishes of the predominantly Hasidic Jewish community, specifically to provide a generous amount of seating and space for buggies. The requirement for a fence was also discussed extensively. To maximise the available space we designed the boundary to incorporated seating, perching, balancing and other play opportunities. Fallen trees and playhouses were located and designed to be playable from the inside and outside of the play area.
Location: Hackney, London
Client: LB Hackney
Cost: £102,000
Status: Completed 2011

Awards: Hackney Design Award, 2012, finalist
Play, landscape design, engagement: erect architecture
Structural engineer: Tall Engineers
Play safety: The Playinspections Company
Photography: erect architecture
Contractor: Collinsons’ Landscaping with Adventure Playground Engineers