Kilburn Grange Adventure Play Park

The new adventure play park provides internal as well as covered external playspace. It is also a short breaks centre for special educational needs children facilitating overnight stays.

Adventure playgrounds are very specific playgrounds. The idea was born in post war rubble and junkyards, where children could run around, climb, make and discover. Modern day adventure playgrounds are environments conceived to enable children to make things and play freely and creatively without much prescriptive input. The children are encouraged to explore and take controlled risks. Adventure playgrounds change through the children’s input.
The site is the remainder of a Victorian Arboretum in an existing park. The overarching theme is playing in and around trees.
The playpark consists of new topographies, landscapes and site-specific climbing structures.  Different scales, speeds, uses, types of inhabitation and play as well as materialities and moods are carefully arranged. Children can experience different seasons or even just hours of the day.
The dense adventure structure plays with the characters of the trees materials. A series of recycled doors quotes domesticity but also allows for routes through to perpetually change and spaces to expand and contract. Different degrees of secrecy oppose vantage points into the park. These spaces of different qualities create a rich experience and invite the imagination.
A play centre, also designed by erect, is part of the play park. Together with the Building Exploratory we undertook a comprehensive community engagement programme pre-, during and post construction.
The project was awarded a RIBA Award. It also won the international Children’s Making Space Award, an award, which is only given every 5 years. The children of the jury chose the playground, not only because it was exciting, sustainable and unusual, but also because ‘…the scheme allows us [the children] to make the space our own.’

Location: Kilburn, London
Client: London Borough of Camden
Cost: £950,000 including play centre
Status: Completed

Camden Design Award, winner
RIBA Award, winner
Children Making Spaces Award, winner
Making Spaces Award, commendation

Architecture, landscape, play design, community engagement: erect architecture
Legacy project: The Building Exploratory
Project management: Developing Projects
Structural engineer: Tall Engineers
QS: Huntley Cartwright
Contractors: Kier, Adventure Playground Engineers (play structures)
Photography: David Grandorge, erect architecture