As leaders in innovative educational practices for gifted students, The Grayson School challenged Matter Design to provide a play space for their upper grade students and teachers that would ignite an age-appropriate version of imaginative learning. In partnership with CEMEX Global R&D, Matter Design created an otherworldly collection of curious concrete characters situated in a landscape.
▼“Grayson游戏实验室”，Grayson Play-Lab ©Brandon Clifford
▼造型奇特的装置可以借助一系列锚点和绳索部件来进行灵活的扩展，a series of details provide anchors to tie rope off to, or receive standard dimensional lumber ©Ally O’Rourke-Barrett (top left) + Brandon Clifford
The play-lab is a scaffold to fuel the imagination of the project-based learning curriculum at The Grayson School. An otherworldly collection of curious concrete characters is situated in an open landscape. These colossal creatures are unlike other play-structures. The recognizable colors, textures, and materials of common play-structures have grown up. A series of details provide anchors to tie rope off to, or receive standard dimensional lumber. They are engineered to accept the maximum load the students can throw at them, while also flexible enough to allow the students and teachers to fabricate their own extensions — to take measurements, conduct physics experiments, anchor a game, or confirm a trigonometry equation.
These details are practical as much as they are cryptic, with alignments to themselves as well as the cosmos. These alignments are developed in concert with the curriculum of the school. Over the course of their education, students are challenged to discover the meaning behind these design decisions, to calculate their coordinates, and understand the logics of how high-design can influence their whimsical but rigorous education.
▼一系列造型奇特的混凝土装置共同构成了一个异想中的世界，an otherworldly collection of curious concrete characters is situated in an open landscape ©Brandon Clifford
▼“glyphs”木制套件组，‘glyphs’ wooden instruments ©Brandon Clifford
To spark agency for the students, a family of wooden instruments, called ‘glyphs’, serve as a starter kit to bring the play-lab to life. Reminiscent of a type-set, each is unique, but share properties with their neighbors. These colorful tools have dimensions and forms that suggest a usefulness without overtly prescribing singular functions. This blending of utilitarian and ceremonial pressures is crafted to inspire a state of world-building. As a system, the glyphs are designed to be expanded as the students develop their own language.
▼“glyphs”套件将作为一个系统，随着学生们对自身语言的发展而慢慢扩大，as a system, the glyphs are designed to be expanded as the students develop their own language ©Ally O’Rourke-Barrett
▼平面图，plan ©Matter Design
▼立面图，elevation ©Matter Design
▼立面图，elevation ©Matter Design
The Grayson School
CEMEX Global R&D
size: 62ft x 40ft x 16ft
location: Radnor Pennsylvania
site: The Grayson School
material: Concrete, Wood, Rope, & Hardware
on site construction: Zach McWilliams, 8 Chestnut principals: Brandon Clifford & Johanna Lobdell project leads: Emily Whitbeck, Kevin Marblestone, Matthew John Meyers, & Tyler Swingle
project team: Gil Sunshine \ Marianna Gonzalez-Cervantes
acknowledgements: Funding provided by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, CEMEX Global R&D, The Grayson School, and Matter Design.
Image courtesy of Matter Design
Photographers: Ally O’Rourke-Barrett; Brandon Clifford