Saucer-shaped landings, polygonal stairs, and concrete slides; while they sound like something from an edgy sculpture exhibit, these imaginative designs were actual playgrounds built within postwar British housing estates. As part of a new exhibition at the Royal Institute of British Architects's office in London, British design collective Assemble and artist Simon Terrill have built an indoor playground based on the experimental shapes and arrangements found on the Brutalist playgrounds of the '60s and '70s. While the new version will be made with foam, the unorthodox shape takes today's more sanitized playground structures to task; those may avoid scraped knees, but in the process, remove some of the excitement of play.
"What's exciting is that children create the movement, and they give kids tools to play," says Assemble member Jane Hall. "The original structures were built during a time when architects were hopeful and ambitious, rebuilding and remaking the world after the war. They represent an optimism and a time when concrete was being used in really experimental ways."
The Brutalist Playground, located at the RIBA in London, is free to visit through August 16.
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