Esther Delaunay, DAVID AUBRIAT, Scott Froidevaux Hao Zheng Lum, Kenneth Marter, Carla Riechardt, Pauline Mark , Mariana Rodopiano Pereira, Marta Walkowiak, Gabriela Zielińska Zofia Konarowska
„Dzieciniec” is a vast Jordan garden with an intimate building of the Municipal Youth Culture Centre. The green and spacious complex was built in 1929 between Dębińska Street and the Warta River and the River Baths built on the river at the same time. In recent years, after years of degradation and oblivion, both Dzieciniec and Baths have been extensively restored in a form very similar to the original nearly a century ago.
Now it’s time to introduce contemporary and functional variety to the geometrically laid out garden space, designed with young people in mind. To create such elements that are missing in the aesthetic, but still poorly animated space. Furniture that is useful, multifunctional, easily accessible, unique with an element of fun – and at the same time respectful of the historical context, as Dzieciniec is under the tutelage of historical preservationists.
Activity furniture for children and adolescents. The location of the furniture allows children to play freely in nature – near large trees providing shade and suppressing street noises. Furniture not only for children and adolescents – spending time in classes at the Youth Cultural Centre No. 1, but also intended for children taking advantage of the garden on weekends. The structure should refer to the idea of natural playgrounds.
Richard Louv in his book „The Last Child in the Woods” defines the syndrome of the deficit of contact with nature among children. Although the soothing effect of nature on our psyche has been known for a long time, more and more children living in cities have limited access to play freely in the natural environment. In the past, children created, observed, experienced, and had intimate contact with nature while playing in a garden, field, meadow, orchard, forest, or by a river. The book’s author emphasizes the role that contact with nature can play in supporting the treatment of adhd, sensory disorders, improving focus, or motor coordination.
Natural playgrounds are becoming more and more popular among parents of preschool children. Such places are created using natural materials and vegetation, they implement the principle of multi-sensory impact: with colour, texture, aroma, sound, variety of materials or diverse terrain, etc.
They allow creative and free play, the child’s intimate contact with nature as well as experiencing it in an individual manner. They also constitute attractive and casual places of rest for adults supervising the children.
The Dzieciniec pod Słońcem Park is characterised by its clear geometry and linearity. The aim is to bring this together with the needs of children in order to introduce them to the existing environment as a space for discovery, climbing and romping. In doing so, their own creativity and ideas are to be encouraged in order to appropriate and interpret the space. Thus, several levels are added to the flat lawn and atmospheres such as open, closed, light, dark, visible and hidden are added. The built elements thus form a backdrop for interpretation and, through their polyvalence, invite a wide range of users to engage in a variety of activities. The position and orientation is derived from the architectural structure and individual lines of sight. For example, the strict axes from north to south, which are determined by the path, but also exciting visual references such as the view from the elements to the fountain. In the process, the structure of the elements forms a framing for various landscape images and draws attention to interesting connections.
The figurative and non-symmetrical appearance of the elements opens up a wide range of interpretation. One possible interpretation is to interpret the elements as animals and to see in them a crocodile, a stick insect and a yak. Likewise, starting from the atmosphere, the whole can be interpreted as a dark, narrow tunnel, an open stage staged by light and shadow, and a tower forming a quiet oasis that opens only to the axis of the main path. All users are invited to form their own individual impression of it.
The users of the park, and especially of the area at the southern end, wanted a place that would allow them to celebrate children’s birthdays there, to get together with other children and parents in a shady environment, and at the same time create a strong connection to nature that is not otherwise found in the park. This is helped by the fact that the southern end of the park ends in an overgrown slope, which is used to store green cuttings and fallen branches. These natural materials can be used for the temporary extension and the children’s own interpretation of the elements. In addition, ropes can be stretched or a sun or rain shelter can be added. The elements encourage and provide a basic structure to adapt the space according to weather conditions and personal needs.
Architects from Poland
Studio Otamto is a Warsaw-based architectural practice set up by Emilia Herman and Peter Youthed in 2018. We met while studying Architecture in London and have worked for some of the leading architectural practices in the UK including Jonathan Tuckey Design, Henley Halebrown Architects, Lynch Architects and Mae Architects.
„We approach each project by listening to our clients, observing the site and combining our wide range of experience to propose a design which is a specific response to the brief and to its physical and social context. We believe in the craft of architecture and our studio is a place where we make things; physical models and images that reflect the tectonic and figurative qualities of architectural projects. We have a team of talented and dedicated assistants who help us turn these ideas into reality.”