Five Fields Play Structure by Matter Design

Multiple means of access produces escalating challenges for the kids.

Project Specs


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Appreciation towards Matter Design for providing the following description:

这座游乐装置位于一片历史悠久的公共场地之中,是周边儿童所共享的嬉戏场所。50年代早期,Architects Collaborative事务所设计并开发了Five Fields社区,并希望以这片位于其中的公共场地增强社区的凝结力。在过去的60年间,社区中居住的人们来来往往,不断变迁,但对这片场地的喜爱与照料从未改变。设计师将社区视作最佳的实验场所,而敢于尝试的社区居民们同样也希望能够为孩子们打造一个安全却又不失乐趣,能够让他们自由探索,没有固定功能的游乐设施。

This play structure is situated on the sloping landscape of a mid-century modern common land, where neighborhood kids enjoy a shared backyard. The Architects Collaborative designed and developed the Five Fields neighborhood in the early 1950s hoping to foster community by creating a piece of shared common land. In the ensuing 60+ years homeowners have come and gone but the community and its care and appreciation for the common land remain. TAC conceived the neighborhood as an experiment and the community, wishing to keep the experimental spirit alive, requested a structure that is both safe and exhilarating for the kids. They wanted something that would challenge the kids without any singularly functional elements.

▼ 树林中的游乐装置,A play structure in the woods





FiveFields_003_BC     FiveFields_009_BC

▼ 设计手稿,Sketche

5Fields-playstructure-sketch-2016-0115_Page_1     5Fields-playstructure-sketch-2016-0115_Page_2


Designing a play structure intended for kids is a unique and challenging project. While there are irreducible standards that manage accessibility and function in the daily lives of adults, play is neither standard nor strictly functional. For this reason, these spaces are accessible to adults, but have been shrunk in order to slow the adults, liberating the kids to fly through the spaces.

▼ 狭小的内部空间让成人只能缓慢前行,The spaces have been shrunk in order to slow the adults





The project is also dedicated to imagination, resisting literal and singular readings. Twenty-foot tall vertical elements contribute to the structure at one moment, but extend into the landscape—from function to whimsy. The colorful graphics suggest entries and key moments, without overtly labeling them. Pre-conceived architectural elements like doors and stairs do exist, but lead to nowhere. Thresholds are tucked under levitating volumes balanced on a single wall. Another principle of the design strategy provides multiple means of access to any location. These decisions produce escalating challenges for the kids; mitigating risk and ensuring the correct age-range have access to the more treacherous areas instead of withholding them entirely. Older kids climb over while younger crawl under.

▼ 诸如门洞、楼梯等传统的建筑形式却把孩子们引向了出乎意料的空间,Pre-conceived architectural elements like doors and stairs do exist, but lead to nowhere


▼ 色彩斑斓的图案暗示着装置的入口等特殊空间,The colorful graphics suggest entries and key moments




▼  层次分明的游戏空间,Multiple means of access to any location


▼ 总平面图,Master Plan


▼ 平面图,Plan


▼ 剖面图,Section





Brandon Clifford—Matter Design
Michael Schanbacher—FR|SCH Projects
Graphic Design
Johanna Lobdell
Project Team
Dar Adams \ Courtney Apgar \ Josh Apgar \ Michael Leviton \ Daniel Marshall \ Chris McGuiness \ Dan Roseman
Kid Consultants
Liam Apgar \ Mack Apgar \ Bella Dubrovsky \ Sam Leviton \ Ainsley Schanbacher \ Judson Schanbacher

year: 2016
location: Lexington MA
site: Five Fields Neighborhood Common Land
size: 115 sqft / 36’ long, 18’ tall and 4’ wide 66’ zipline
program: Play Structure
material: Timber

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