Written by Berliner Seilfabrik Team
The imposing play equipment in the form of an almost 20 feet high climbing tower will catch your eye even from a distance. The tower shines in resplendent red, yellow and orange from the newly designed Platz der Begegnung in Heidelberg. Here on the eastern outskirts of the town, where the Schlierbach valley gently slopes down towards the Neckar River, is the Schlierbach district. A development of mainly detached urban villas extends up the steep slope, while down in the valley, Heidelberg’s main artery – consisting of the S-Bahn (suburban railway) and Bundesstraße (A-road) 37 – pulsates along the Neckar.
In the lower part of the Schlierbach slope, just above the Schlierbach-Ziegelhausen S-Bahn station, there has been the Platz der Begegnung since October 2019 – a plateau embedded in the slope, consisting of a playground, a boules court and benches. Here, citizens of all ages can meet, relax, exercise and exchange ideas.
“This is exactly what the city of Heidelberg had in mind,” explains Friedhelm Natzschka, who as a landscape architect was responsible for designing the Platz der Begegnung, “A unique place with a distinctive character was to be created that would benefit the population. A place of encounter in an area where people have previously hardly stopped and lingered. A village square outside the centre.”
The main part of the newly designed square is a fortified area of almost 3,500 square feet, which is shaped like an egg from a bird’s eye view. This shape lends an organic appeal to the square and at the same time contrasts it with the rather striking lines of the surroundings. From here, visitors can enjoy a splendid view of the Neckar valley below and the green village structure of the Ziegelhausen district on the opposite slope. Benches invite visitors to rest and linger.
The highlight of the square is the climbing tower, which is located in the “yolk” area of the square. Not only because it offers a wide range of particularly exciting activities, but also because its modern and sculptural design brings a breath of fresh air to the Platz der Begegnung. The combination of curved and straight tubes in different thicknesses reveals a twist in the façade. Resembling the structure of DNA, the play structure spirals up into the sky. The organic shapes of the round tubes and spheres complement the overall appearance of the egg-shaped square.
The climbing structure can be ascended via a three-dimensional net made of ropes inside the tower. In this way, children can climb to a height of over 13 feet and change their perspective by looking at the “world” from above. At the same time, the transparent structure allows constant eye contact with the parents on the ground. From the parents’ point of view, this makes for easy supervision. A box slide provides a speedy and exciting descent down to the ground.
“The aim was to create a real attraction for the square by installing this extraordinary play equipment. The tower not only serves as a lookout over the Neckar valley, but also draws the necessary attention to the square by being visible from afar,” says Natzschka. The striking colour scheme of red and orange tubes and the yellow-coloured net also adds to this. At the same time, the tower blends in with its surroundings by picking up the hues of the reddish flooring of the square and the plants.
Another aspect in choosing the play equipment was the size of the play volume in relation to the floor space. “Which is ideal in the case of the DNA Tower,” thinks the landscape architect, “By making optimal use of its height with the spatial net, the tower can accommodate many children at once despite its small diameter of just over nine feet.”
Playing together on one device in turn promotes social interaction among children. Through interactive play, they develop social skills, learn to show consideration for each other or help each other. This is exactly the intention of the overall concept: a place of encounter.
The “Duck Jibe” spinning element attached to the tower provides plenty of variety on the ground. It simulates a surfing manoeuvre and thus also attracts older children.
In addition to the playground, the look-out benches and the boules court, the “Schlierbach Egg” can also be used for events such as flea markets or small parties, thus providing another place of encounter. As the site is wheelchair-accessible, people of all abilities can come together.
After about nine months of construction, the Platz der Begegnung was completed in October 2019. The opening of the square was met with great enthusiasm by the numerous residents who attended and gives hope that the “Schlierbach Egg” will remain a place of encounter in the long term.
This is a project reference of Berliner Seilfabrik, in Heidelberg, Germany. If you would like to create a relevant custom-made solution in Greece or Cyprus, please do not hesitate to contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Well-designed and accessible public spaces are an incredibly important asset to our towns and cities. They provide opportunities for people to come together and play a vital role in the social and economic life of communities.
Successfully designed outdoor public spaces are inclusive of the diversity of groups present within the community and create social places for everyone in that society to meet and participate. Indeed, the social value of open space lies in the opportunities it provides for social interaction, social mixing, and social inclusion. Creating a space that successfully engages people is an art form that heavily relies on innovation, accessibility, good design and the input of the community.
New kinds of public spaces and meeting places are being created in towns, cities and residential areas, including downtown locations, street markets, shopping precincts, community centres, parks, and neighborhood spaces. They include play areas, event or performance spaces as well as areas for rest and relaxation.
There are many factors that contribute to successful public spaces that are not solely in the hands of the architect, urban designer, or town planner; they also rely on people adopting, using, and managing the space – it’s true that people make places, more than places make people.
Child-friendly outdoor public spaces are especially important. They give young people an arena to learn some of the rules of communal life, exchange ideas, cement friendships, and learn new skills. It is imperative that cities and regions consider a more holistic approach to child development and supporting new and creative ways to foster and sustain learning beyond the classroom. One innovative approach to bringing education into the public realm is through playful learning – supporting adult-child interactions and neighborhood engagement in places where children and families regularly spend time. Alternative learning experiences that can heighten interest, spark creativity, and are socially interactive.
With their unusual shapes and wonderful sounds, outdoor musical instruments are both conversation starters and people magnets. They add a fun touch to public spaces whilst also being educational, therapeutic, and engaging. Intended to bring people together in unexpected ways, they foster exchange between the player and the passers-by – creating a comfortable atmosphere for individuals to truly express themselves while interacting with each other.
Putting an interesting twist on traditional playground equipment, outdoor musical instruments in a public space bring about opportunities for parents, grandparents, and guardians to share an activity with their children, explore their curiosity and teach them (or learn alongside them) new musical skills as well as a range of motor and social skills. Exploring the instruments can instigate conversations around a number of subjects including language, culture, color, and numbers.
Now more than ever we are seeing the importance of expanding opportunities for playful learning—that is, child-directed experiences that are driven by curiosity and exploration—outside of the classroom. Outdoor musical instruments can help transform everyday spaces into powerful learning opportunities for children and families. Easily installed and without requiring too much space or expensive surfacing, they can be used to reinvent everyday spaces as fun learning opportunities that organically prompt the kinds of interactions that help children thrive. Changing everyday spaces and making them more extraordinary.
Challenging our town and city planners to recognize the benefits of reimagining our public spaces as positive playful learning opportunities for all learners, young or old and with varying abilities, should see vibrant, welcoming spaces for everyone to use and enjoy.
Music has always been a powerful way to bring people together and we have a vision for creating family-friendly musical oases in towns and cities across the world.
Written by Berliner Seilfabrik Team
“Liget Budapest” – that is the name of the largest and most ambitious urban culture development project so far in Europe, in which the symbolic and largest public park in Hungary’s capital was completely renovated. One of the most modern and varied playgrounds in Europe has been created on an area of 13,000 square metres in the south-eastern part of the park, which consists of a total of over 50 various play equipment. These are not only aimed at all different age groups, but also predominantly offer a high level of inclusive potential.
At the centre of this extraordinary playground, there is a hot-air balloon almost 12-meters in height, at the interior of which there is a huge spatial net. The ascent to the balloon`s basket takes place via rope ladders and climbing ropes, before the three-dimensional climbing net is accessed via ascent plateaus of varying heights. The famous painting “The Balloon” by the artist Pál Szinyei Merse from 1878 served as the model for the balloon design. It shows a hot-air balloon in the striking white-red striped colour combination, as it ascends from Városliget Budapest in the air. The new climbing balloon is thus not only an attractive playground equipment for the children in the park, but its appearance also creates a historical connection between the past and the present life in Városliget.
“The entire balloon is designed around a pendulum-mounted central mast, which is anchored to the ground with a total of eight ropes” explains Katharina Hilger from the Berliner Creative Center, who is primarily responsible for the development of the climbing balloon. “The spatial net was tensioned in a frame structure made of steel tubes, which is suspended from another four steel cables from the top of the central mast. In order to maintain the round shape of the balloon, the balloon skin has been stiffened using vertical plastic rods.”
It was a challenge to reduce the wind load, to which the balloon is exposed to due to its size. “We have used an air-permeable, PVC coated polyester fabric for the balloon skin. Thus we were able to make sure that the balloon can also withstand strong winds. At the same time, the slightly transparent textile structure ensures that enough light gets into the interior of the balloon,” says Hilger.
Another highlight of the playground are the two climbing towers, which are 11 meters in height, each of which are fitted with a tube spiral or a tube curve slide. While the ascent to one tower takes place via a challenging close-meshed spatial net, the other is equipped with sloping net plates that can be used to climb all the way up. Both towers are connected to each other through net tunnels, a large horizontal net and many other different low rope climbing elements. However, the towers and the balloon are by no means the only playground equipment in the Városliget City Park, which makes it possible to climb to great heights. Climbing enthusiasts can climb to the tree house Quii, which is located on the top of the mast of a three-dimensional central mast climber. From here, it leads via a net tunnel and another tree house into a low rope course once again. This ends with a large chessboard-cube made of rubber membrane mats.
In the immediate vicinity of the rope play equipment, there are various swing and jumping attractions close to the ground. In addition to a Net Swing, as well as the two nest swings Cup Swing, six persons can experience high-altitude flights together at the same time on the Face-to-Face Swing. Trampolines in different shapes and sizes provide enjoyment in jumping for both young and old.
In a separate toddler area, among other things, the play house Triitopia offers space for role-playing, retreats and first climbing experiences for the younger children. In particular, the sloping mesh floors in the tiny houses offer a special challenge for the children.
In order to be able to create such a modern and holistic play world, which is sustainable attractive for families and which is also used in the long term as a place for regular leisure activities, child psychologists, landscape architects, teachers and children were involved at the beginning of the planning process. Benedek Gyorgyevics, the Managing Director of the company Városliget Zrt. which is responsible for the Liget Projekt, is satisfied with the result: “The new playground helps to ensure that the young children of Budapest are able to live a healthier lifestyle than before, because it gives them the opportunity to be physically active in the fresh air – a real alternative to video games on the sofa at home”, says Gyorgyevics to the Daily News Hungary.
The playground is more than well received by the residents of Budapest! “We know that on sunny days between 5.000 and 6.500 people go to the playground”, says Tamás Sándor from S-TÉR – Berliner Partner in Hungary. “It means that approximately 15.000 – 20.000 people are using the playground per week.”
This is a project reference of Berliner Seilfabrik, in Budapest, Hungary. If you would like to create a relevant custom-made solution in Greece or Cyprus, please do not hesitate to contact with us at email@example.com
Written by Berliner Seilfabrik Team
“A world of which we didn’t know if it really exists.” That was the title of the design concept for the new adventure playground of the BarraShopping Sul Mall in Porto Alegre in Brazil. Meanwhile, this world has become a reality. Since March of this year, visitors to the outdoor area of the shopping mall are attracted by a gigantic climbing, adventure, and play area which looks like a small leisure park. The park has an ambitious claim to fulfill the needs of children of all age groups and attract their parents, catering to the whole family.
“This space was created so we can stop in time and remember how we lost our ability to dream and imagine, and as we need that time to relive this fantastic world of children’s imagination”, says Susana Ventura, CEO and Creative Director of Oikotie, and mainly responsible for the planning and design of the new playground. “And children need it. Need to be children. So especially children in Brazil, where so many do not have the time to be children.”
The 2,500 sqm large area is subdivided into four different thematic areas which are equipped with a total of 39 different play devices, such as the “Sensorial Garden”, the “Magic Valley”, the “Event Area” and an adventure play area called “Bravaria”. In addition, the park offers an impressive infrastructure consisting of a family bathroom, a protected baby care center with all the practical amenities for infants, drinking water fountains, and different food stations.
While the children can experience all their senses in the “Sensorial Garden” with different musical instruments, water fountains and light effects, the “Magic Valley”, with its crooked little houses and fairy-tale creatures, offers spaces for imagination and relaxation. In addition, shows and meetings can take place on the stage of the “Event Area”.
“Bravaria – The land of the Bold and Daring”, offers a multifaceted athletic program of physical activities. Whoever dares can come here to enjoy climbing, sliding, spinning, swinging or jumping. A highlight of this area is the tree house settlement which was built by the company Berliner Seilfabrik. Climbing up the ladder, one reaches the first of a total of three little “Trii”-houses of the Berliner Greenville product range. Through a net tunnel the children can climb up to the next “Trii”-house. An access net allows direct entrance to the “Trii” in the middle and thus offers an exciting alternative to taking the ladder. Finally, another net tunnel leads to the third tree house, from where a tube slide offers courageous climbers a perfect descent from almost ten feet in height.
“This land was created for those who are brave enough to explore it. We created obstacles and high climbing areas, several difficulties, so that kids would have to overcome their fears and strength, when playing. Its also an area where moms and dads like to feel the thrill also, so it unites families in the adventure”, says Susana Ventura.
However, the challenges for the young adventurers do not only lie in climbing up to the tree houses or through the net tunnel, but also in the adjacent low-rope course which consists of four climbing elements, each of which provides different levels of difficulty. The so-called “Wasps’ Nest“, an open net ball made of ropes, which can be reached via a rope ladder or climbing ropes, offers an additional opportunity to have a rest and relax.
Another special climbing experience is provided by the three-dimensional net climber “Jupiter“. It is here where many children can play simultaneously in three-dimensional space and in up to sixteen feet in height. The extension elements, such as the slide, jungle bridge, access net, and rope ladder are additional attractions.
The same applies to the “Disk XL” which is also part of the Bravaria play area. With a diameter of over seven feet, this device, too, offers room enough for whole families without losing its elegance. The angled and concave disc form does not just provide fun but also helps to train one’s body control. It is here where one can experience G-forces in an impressive way.
The offers of this play area are rounded off by the new so-called “Side-by-Side-Swing” which consists of two separate swings as well as a net swing which is ideally suited for swinging together up to lofty heights.
All of the three, the “Jupiter”, the “Disk XL” and the “Side-by-Side-Swing”, provide inclusive value by allowing children with different abilities to play together. They provide numerous challenges for the different motor skills as well as varied sensory experiences. Children with hearing impairments, for instance, can climb inside the spatial net and simultaneously stay in visual contact with other children. ADHD patients benefit from having to concentrate when they are climbing, whereas children in wheelchairs can experience gravity and centrifugal forces together with others on the “Disk XL”. The safety surface chosen allows easy accessibility for all users and even children depending on wheelchairs will be motivated to leave their wheelchair and move on through the spatial net.
In addition to the wide range of movement and fitness offerings, it is an exciting color design and the varied modeling of the ground which are particularly eye-catching. An organic hilly landscape is created through elevations of different heights and the existing hills. Between the play structures, there are flower beds with palm trees, regional and exotic plants and herbs which offer a wide range of colors and scents. This external appearance is supported by the colorful EPDM surface which consists of round forms and paths of different colors which remind of a colorful meadow from a bird’s-eye view. Berliner Seilfabrik, in turn, has adjusted the color scheme of its play devices accordingly, most of which “are shining” in the colors blue, grey and pink and thus look particularly fanciful. “We are especially fond of all the color possibilities that Berliner gives us because color in our projects always has a high presence. Berliner also has very high quality material and high resistance, and this was an important issue when you think of a park which has more than 1.500 kids playing there every day”, Ventura says.
The contracting entity is very happy with the implementation: “By providing our customers with special experiences based on the demands of BarraShopping Sul, we have developed a unique concept consisting of innovative play devices for the whole family”, says Eduardo Vitagliano, Manager of the Shopping Mall, as quoted on the website of the Multiplan Group. The visitor numbers show that he has had his finger on the pulse of age: already in the first three weeks after the park was inaugurated, it has been visited by more than 52,000 people. That is a great success for both the operators of the Shopping Mall and particularly for the children and their families of Porto Alegre.
This is a project reference of Berliner Seilfabrik, in Brazil. If you would like to create a relevant custom-made solution in Greece or Cyprus, please do not hesitate to contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Open-ended play is vital to a child’s development. It enables learning in a truly holistic way, through active play and exploration – with no instruction or direction. With no pre-determined limitations and no fixed answer – open-ended play means children simply follow their imagination and allow the play to go in any direction their creativity takes them. As there are no set outcomes, there is no right or wrong way to play – no rules, no expectations, no specific problems to solve, and no pressure to produce a finished product.
The Benefits of Open-Ended Play
The benefits for children engaging in open-ended play are numerous. Allowing for self-directed exploration and repetitive behaviors gives children the chance to experiment and consolidate their learning. Open-ended resources support this creativity while resources that are made for a purpose have a fixed outcome e.g. a large cardboard box can be a car, a shop, a spaceship whereas a puzzle will always be a puzzle. While it has its own educational benefits, it will only ever be one thing.
The creative nature of open-ended play also enhances cognitive skills, such as working memory, cognitive flexibility, self-regulation, and self-discovery.
Children can focus on ‘creating’, based on their inner inspiration and motivation. It is an outlet for a stream of continuous thought development and expression. Open-ended play links directly with the Early Years Foundation Stage, allowing practitioners to observe children using a multitude of skills – for example creating props to support role-play or investigating shape, space, and measure. These observations also link to the Characteristics of Effective Learning – fostering opportunities for children to create and think critically, play and explore and be active in their learning.
Music Fosters Open Ended Play
Unstructured outdoor musical play offers opportunities for children to discover ways to express their thoughts, ideas, and feelings, and improvising with music is a wonderful way to foster open-ended play. Outdoor musical instruments located in parks and playgrounds allow children to explore their musical selves, including their originality, and offer a safe, secure space in which to experiment with improvisation.
Open-ended musical play differs from teacher-structured music time in an educational setting. Initiated by children of their own volition and intrinsically motivated, play and participation prevail performance. This is critical since many self-confidence issues regarding music and the performing arts are centered around the idea that you can “get it wrong” or that what you’ve created is less than perfect. Many of the Percussion Play outdoor musical instruments are tuned to a simple five-note musical scale called the pentatonic scale. Pentatonic scale notes are harmonious in whichever order they are played and great for developing musical skills and technique without tuition. Since it is impossible to play a ‘wrong’ note anyone can create music that sounds good – building the confidence of inexperienced or very young musicians and encouraging spontaneous musical behavior. Suddenly, musical composition isn’t just for prodigies – it’s a form of artistic expression that every child is capable of doing, free to experiment with new concepts as they realize there’s no right or wrong way to engage.
Although children are surrounded daily by a variety of musical experiences, there are fewer and fewer opportunities for them to actively and freely engage in the music-making itself. Modern life means they’re inundated with melodies emitted from computer games, phones, TV shows, and toys, meaning most of the music they encounter is “unchosen,” making them passive recipients of the music in their lives and not actively engaged in its selection or making. Given the chance, children are natural composers and love to experiment with the sounds all around them. The freedom of improvisation has significant effects on the development of a child’s creative musical thinking, and that musical originality—the way the child uniquely manipulates musical sounds—increases along with their musical potential.
Open-Play Environments to Practice and Hone Key Skills
Children grow emotionally, socially, creatively, and cognitively through spontaneous music and movement, with their impromptu musical performances often revealing what they are thinking, seeing, or doing. Even when their language isn’t quite at a level to articulate their fears, excitements, or opinions, the type of music they produce during open-ended play will speak volumes.
It is imperative that young children are given access to environments that support this musical freedom, interaction, and development as well as the time to enjoy them. The permanence of outdoor musical instruments means no tidying away at the end of the day, allowing children to constantly revisit and tweak their musical compositions or repeat their choice of learning – allowing them to merge all the information they have gathered when experimenting with pitch, tempo, and dynamics.
Playgrounds are an awesome place to encourage open-ended play. Spaces that children of all backgrounds can enjoy in play areas that fuel young imaginations, encourage interaction and engage all of the senses.
Encouraging Open-Ended Play
Open-ended play strips away all rules, expectations, and time frames, and encourages children to think for themselves. Children learn to react better in situations, they learn to make choices, and they feel more inspired. When a child is asked to solve an academic or a real-life problem, they will be better equipped to resolve it through using the skills they have practiced and learned during open-ended play.
Whether you’re playing with a child or asking about their play, use open-ended questions and avoid directing their play or taking over their lead. Nothing squashes open-ended play more than being told what or how to play. Follow their lead and nurture their creativity and problem-solving skills.
By permitting our resources, learning environments, and our support as adults to be open-ended, learning through play continues to be dynamic – and most of all, fun.
Outdoor Musical Instruments in Elementary Schools Help in The Race to Prevent Nature Deficit Disorder
We are spending more time inside than ever before – even though it is well documented that time spent in the great outdoors is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to maintain or improve our overall health and wellbeing. Computers, tablets, cell phones, and video games all compete to hog our attention and keep us from stepping outside into nature to decompress. Most concerning of all is the impact this lack of exposure to green outdoor space is having on the health of our children.
The concern about children spending too much time indoors has become so great that it has been given its own term – ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ or NDD. Although it’s not a recognized medical condition, concerns about its effects on young people’s wellbeing are attracting widespread attention.
Instead of basking in natural sunlight, many children today are spending hours of their time basking in the glow of some form of screen, disturbing their natural circadian rhythms, impacting their sleep quality, and forming a detachment from the natural world.
Problems such as difficulty concentrating, high-stress levels, and poor physical health. Diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and depression are common companions of a sedentary indoor lifestyle. Sunlight triggers the body’s vitamin D production, which in turn helps us fight off inflammation, lowers blood pressure, improves brain function, bone and muscle health. Being outside in fresh air and sunlight protects growing eyes, with the ample light of the outdoors preventing their eyes from working harder than they need to.
There is too much at stake here simply to accept the situation as an inevitable consequence of modernity. It is the joint responsibility of parents, educators, and urban planners to help this ‘indoor generation’ toeasily and safely spend more time outside, reconnecting with the natural world – wherever they are located. If children are given the opportunity to experience nature, even in simple ways, interaction and engagement follow quite naturally. Time spent outside needs to be an everyday occurrence, and if we design our cities—including our homes and schools—with an integrated approach, with landscaping and architecture blending to work in harmony with nature, it could become a commonplace pattern.
The Outdoor Classroom
Classrooms without walls are a great way to promote time spent outside for both outdoor learning and play. There are countless physiological, social, and academic benefits to learning outside – for both pupils and teachers – that indoor classroom lessons just cannot match. Outdoor learning encourages kid’s creativity, builds their attention spans, and increases their desire to explore, yet, despite the outdoors purported to be so significant and beneficial, it is still often overlooked or under-utilized when teaching elementary children.
Outdoor classrooms allow a school to offer daily opportunities to learn outside; a place for telling stories, a place for cooking, a place for supporting the arts, a place for play. Children can move seamlessly between indoor and outdoor spaces with alternative methods of learning providing a host of advantages for children, who often don’t realize they’re learning when outside.
Well-equipped outdoor classrooms provide wonderful opportunities to deliver unique and engaging experiences for pupils outside of classroom walls while exploring numerous subjects such as math, science, literacyand language, and unquestionably, music.
Music in The Outdoor Classroom
Some things just work better outdoors, and music is one of them!
A great music program uses the whole school environment. Musical instruments in your outdoor classroom and/or playground will encourage children to learn about music through free play and exploration – subtly integrating music and ‘outdoor time’ into their everyday school experience.
Children revel in the freedom to explore the range of sounds, tempos, and dynamics of the musical instruments and free play is what gives them mastery. Children often feel less inhibited outdoors and musical playground equipment will help introduce basic musical concepts whilst being sure that the focus is on the fun. This notion of experimentation, of flexibility, of just having a go are all elements needed to become confident, rounded musicians of the future.
Music is an intensely social experience; children learn to cooperate when making music together, combining their efforts to solve problems, make decisions, and work together towards a common goal. Collaboration is needed to create a new melody or rhythm and they’re required to listen to each other as well as the sounds produced, to share each other’s ideas and express their own. Children can fine-tune their listening skills outside and develop confidence in projecting their voices across the space.
Music also has an inherently physical dynamic; movement to music is a wonderful way to get kids active, offering opportunities for both fine and gross motor activity. Outdoor environments not only offer greater freedom of movement than a classroom but also allow for less constraint to ways of behaving and thinking, making the outdoors open to richer experiences due to the increased space and the creative possibilities it presents.
Children can learn to explore their emotions through music and can learn to share these emotions with others; plus, they’ll learn they can use music to affect their emotional state. When you are feeling angry, nothing makes you feel better than playing the drums real loud, right?
The introduction of an outdoor musical space or trail as part of a school’s outdoor education program will help children discover the joy and empowerment of music-making while reaping the benefits of time in the natural environment.
Watching a class of children playing outdoor instruments prove that, when presented with the opportunity, life outdoors is still something children benefit greatly from and, more importantly, enjoy.
Written by Berliner Seilfabrik Team
With its own housing stock of around 60,000 apartments, the Berlin-based housing association HOWOGE is one of the ten largest landlords in Germany. For more than 25 years, the company has stood for sustainable inventory development, innovative housing concepts, and social engagement at various locations in Berlin. In the course of the periodic repair of the façade of a block of flats with 422 apartments in Berlin’s Hohenschönhausen district, the outdoor area was also redesigned. A varied children’s playground was created in the courtyard of the building complex. Due to the public accessibility of the farm, the play area not only benefits the immediate residents but also offers the entire living environment – including adjoining daycare centers – an exciting destination for play and movement.
“It was important to me to have a playground that caters to the needs of all ages,” said Oliver Pohlann, Landscape Architect in charge and Project Manager of Landscaping at HOWOGE. “Both the very young children and the older ones in adolescence should get their money’s worth.”
Consequently, the playground consists of play equipment with different requirements. At the heart of the toddler area is the Roo M.03 playhouse of the Spooky Rookies series, which is specifically geared to the needs of toddlers under the age of 3 for early psychomotor and social development. For example, the mud tables in the lower part of the playhouse invite you to role-play, which promotes language and social skills in a playful way. An ascent ramp makes it possible to reach the upper area of the house before descending the child-friendly slide – a form of exercise that has a positive effect on spatial perception and improved balance and coordination skills of small children.
The highlight of the play area for the “big ones” is a combination of the wooden playhouses Woodville, in which two different “shacks” share a common post. The larger of the two shacks is equipped with a transitional network, which is combined with an access net. The two shacks are connected through a balcony that can be climbed via a rope ladder or using the rocking-plate ascent. “The promotion possibilities are deliberately chosen so that they offer different levels of difficulty and also offer an exciting challenge for older children,” says Pohlann. “Even when choosing colors, it was important to me that the ropes, balls, clamps and roofs look as interesting and appealing as possible. At the same time, of course, the play equipment should fit in color with the new façade design of the adjoining apartment blocks.”
Responsible for the development of Woodville at the Berliner Seilfabrik is Katharina Hilger, engineer of the Berlin Creative Center: “My personal highlight of the Woodville playground equipment is the constructive and elegant wood protection. Both from above and from below, the wood is protected by other materials. The elevation is part of the design and the round logs do not end in the usual metal post shoes.
In addition, I am pleased about the hybrid character of individual components. This means that the parts that are subject to heavy loads when playing do not connect directly to the wood, but to stainless steel pipes, which are much more stable and resistant – and thus contribute to the longevity of playground equipment.
Rounding out the playground are two play points of the Berlin product group URBAN DESIGN. The double swing Swingo.2.4 allows two children to swing at the same time and was set for Pohlann from the beginning: “Rocking is important for a playground, it always works!”
In addition to its stylish organic design, the rocker abacus impresses with three sliding weight balls. Depending on the weight ratio of the users, these can be shifted so that people of different weights can be balanced and swung together. At the same time, the play point illustrates essential physical relationships in terms of gravity and balance. Here the children have the opportunity to get in contact with the scientific laws in a playful way.
“Not only the tenants of the adjoining apartments and the surrounding kindergartens are more than satisfied with the redesign of the playground, but also incidentally passing bypassers are now more often in the courtyard on the Dierhagener road,” says Oliver Pohlann. HOWOGE has thus lived up to its motto “more than usual”.
This is a project reference of Berliner Seilfabrik, in Germany. If you would like to create a relevant custom-made solution in Greece or Cyprus, please do not hesitate to contact with us at email@example.com
Written by Berliner Seilfabrik Team
“Celebrate your Roots – discover your Wings” is the guiding principle of the German European School in Singapore (GESS). Thus the school profile focuses on conveying the European values of respect, openness and a sense of community. The private school in the Asian metropolis is aimed at students and preschoolers of all ages between 18 months and 18 years old. The school aspires to get to know every student in the school community, to discover his personal strengths and interests and, through a holistic approach, to both encourage and challenge students. The school focuses on quality not only during lessons, but also beyond them. Thus the school concept sees recess as an opportunity to supplement and support cognitive learning in class through physical exercise. Social interaction is also encouraged during recess.
Consequently, the redesign of the school campus in Singapore has resulted in a wide range of activities and opportunities for relaxation and play. In addition to various sports areas, including a football field and an Olympic swimming pool, the newly designed play areas in the inner courtyards of the school complex are also particularly striking. The school playground is divided into a total of four areas aimed at engaging all age groups.
In the first courtyard there are two different combinations of playhouses and rope playhouses from the Berliner Greenville series, each connected by different bridge elements. The bases of the rope playhouses are three-dimensional nets made of ropes inside the “DoubleBoos”. Since spatial nets offer enough space for a lot of children at the same time, they are perfect for school playgrounds. In addition, playing together in the climbing net promotes the social behavior of the students, since interactions inevitably arise. Climbing in three-dimensional space also trains the students’ psychomotor skills and 3D-imagination. This has a positive effect on mathematics classes, among other things. Thus at the neuronal level, the interconnection patterns in the brain that are also required for three-dimensional computing are stimulated.
The playground in the first courtyard merges seamlessly into a second, covered play area. Here students can climb on a low rope course consisting of five different climbing elements. “As the individual elements of a low rope course have different levels of difficulty, they are attractive for children of differing ages”, says Patrick Lee, expert in designing playgrounds and schoolyards and managing director of CT-Art.
The completely open design of the rope play equipment ensures maximum transparency. This means teachers can observe their students from every perspective, even when there are a lot of children on the climbing equipment at the same time.
This design feature is particularly beneficial for school playgrounds and is also present in the wave-shaped play sculpture “Shout”, located in the third play area of the school. A planar net with different mesh widths spans a frame made of bent steel tubes. In addition to a net tunnel, which makes the climbing ring climbable all the way around, the play sculpture has numerous add-on elements such as climbing plates, a banister and rubber mats.
All in all, more than 200 children have room on “Shout” simultaneously and can thus get plenty of exercise during recess. The various add-on elements and the differences in height within the structure also make “Shout” attractive for all age groups. In addition, the abstract structure offers plenty of room for the imagination. “The pupils can always discover new entrances to climb into, play on and experience the play equipment”, says Patrick Lee. “This offers many opportunities for pupils to act out their own play ideas and thus supports the vision of the school to promote the personal interests of each individual.”
The second large play structure in this area is a combination of three “Greenville” Trii houses of differing heights, connected by net tunnels. Students can find space up there for privacy, or rest and relax after a challenging climbing tour in order to recover before classes resume.
This play area is rounded off by two nest swings and a rotating play point. Both devices offer play functions that have a positive effect on children’s development. While swinging particularly promotes the vestibular system, i.e. the ability to coordinate body movements, eye movements and balance, turning strengthens kinaesthetic awareness in that the child learns to avoid falling down or colliding with other playmates.
In the fourth play area of GESS, a combination of two playhouses from the “Spooky Rookies” product line has been installed. This is specially tailored to the needs of small children. The two different access points, a flat ramp and a small staircase, allow age-appropriate access and at the same time offer an exciting challenge for the little ones. In addition, the passage over the close-meshed net bridge or a sliding section in the toddler slide trains the sense of balance and thus fosters the next developmental stage. Patrick Lee is satisfied: “With the counter in the lower part of the larger house, the playhouses offer the ideal space for role-playing games. Language and social skills such as empathy are developed in a ludic way.”
In addition to the high play and exercise value, the clear, organic and natural design language running through all the play areas is particularly striking. The natural color choice and the use of bamboo panels in the area of the facade elements reference the green surroundings of the “Bukit Timah Nature Reserve”, located directly in front of the GESS school gates. “The intention was to transfer this stimulating environment into the school playground through natural design”, says Marius Kotte from the Berliner Creative Centre.
With the redesign of the outdoor area of the GESS, an impressive play and exercise area has been created that not only appeals to all age groups, but at the same time fosters the students’ neuronal, social and psychomotor development.
This is a project reference of Berliner Seilfabrik, in Singapore. If you would like to create a relevant custom-made solution in Greece or Cyprus, please do not hesitate to contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Berliner Seilfabrik Team
Located in northern Santa Rosa, California, the Sonoma Country Day School, an independent TK-8 college preparatory school, provides students with state-of-the-art facilities, challenging core academics and a focus on the creative and performing arts. For more than thirty years, it has been the school that “brings learning to life.”
When it came time to design the playground, the school wanted one that reflected its mission. They did not want a traditional-looking playground with traditional playground equipment. They wanted something different, something that was more challenging for the children, something that truly reflected the school.
Important elements for the design included: incorporating an existing hill and elevation into the plan, using natural materials, choosing the right colors and being cognizant of the environment. Berliner’s bamboo-paneled play equipment, which look like wood, offer greater durability and are more ecologically friendly, fit their vision.
While incorporating the hill had its challenges, such as access, the Berliner Triple Boo offered the perfect solution. The Triple Boo gives the look of a classic play house with its bamboo panels. Standing 13 feet tall, it utilizes the space well by providing play space upward, maximizing play space on a minimal ground area. It also contains a 3-dimensional rope climbing web beneath it for kids to climb in and up to the tree house. The open tube provides ADA access to the structure, enabling play for all.
The 3-story Triple Boo sits atop the hill, creating a focal point for the playground and a destination for the children.
The Joe Brown Globe, a spatial net climber with a wooden frame and natural colors, is a unique wood play piece that complements the natural playground setting. Made of glued timber, the multiple layers of dried wood make it the premier choice for a natural material while offering maximum load capacity and minimal cracking or splintering. The foundation, made of powder-coated steel fitted into the wood elements, means there is no direct connection between the bottom of the wood structure and the soil, eliminating the possibility of moisture or water damage to the equipment.
At the bottom of the hill, you’ll find more bamboo-paneled play equipment, the 2-story Double Boo with spatial net connected to a Trii with a banister and ladder.
The O’Tannenbaum spinning tree enables kids to climb and spin at the same time. Except for its trunk, the entire tree rotates. The big rubber membrane surface with its low access height enables children with special needs to join the fun, providing a place where kids can sit while spinning.
The Double Cloud 9, an accessible swing, allows several children at one time to fly on the cloud and children with special needs can enjoy the swinging movement, too.
Other Berliner play structures that complement the natural playground setting:
Swinging to and fro all the time, the Cat Tail gives children a rocking play experience. The body and stem are made of stainless steel and have a bi-colored HDPE platform to make it more aesthetically pleasing, blending with the playground’s surroundings.
Children zoom from one side to the other using the 100-foot Speedway zip line. The Speedway is a fun cable ride without bulky supports. The two big steel arches allow for a more open design and can be equipped with a launch platform.
All in all, the Berliner design team successfully met the expectations of the school.
This is a project reference of Berliner Seilfabrik, in California. If you would like to create a relevant custom-made solution in Greece or Cyprus, please do not hesitate to contact with us at email@example.com
Written by Berliner Seilfabrik Team
Be’er-Sheva in southern Israel is one of the country’s largest cities. It is considered by many to be the “Capital of the Negev,” which it borders on. As a so-called “developing city,” Be’er-Sheva has been turning into a religious center and has also become an important Israeli metropolis over recent decades.
In order to maintain the city’s attractiveness for its 200,000 inhabitants, it is crucial to create attractive facilities for young families. In addition to emerging residential neighborhoods, the growing industrial sector and increasing tourism, new local parks have been established in the last few years. One of these is Be’er-Sheva River Park. Covering an expanse of several square miles, the large River Park follows the course of Nahal Be’er-Sheva, a large riverbed that does not carry any water during the dry season.
As of June 2017, the park boasts a new centerpiece: a massive playground consisting of a vast climbing landscape made up of equipment provided by Berliner Seilfabrik.
Seven differently equipped climbing towers are evenly distributed over an area of approx. 10,765-ft.² They serve as the foundation pillars of this climbing paradise. The towers are connected with net bridges that are up to 20 feet in length. Some of the bamboo-clad towers are more than 26 feet high, giving them the appearance of a tree house village thanks to their natural design.
Besides its remarkable size and complexity, another special feature of the playground is its density of climbing structures and the way these are connected. Any “gaps” have been filled using additional exciting equipment. Climbing mats, ladders, nets and climbing ropes add many more options for climbing and playing, making the playground even more versatile. A neighboring lower rope course for children who are not quite ready to make their way up to the “treetops” offers additional variety and an exciting challenge for smaller children.
In addition, six long, slightly twisted or even spiralling slides have been attached to the climbing towers. Whizzing down one of these slides is the perfect reward to every bold climber! The slides for this project were supplied by Israeli partner Games & Sports and could be easily attached to the towers thanks to Berliner Seilfabrik’s modular system.
Around the climbing structures, numerous additional attractions such as seesaws and carousels complete the playground’s range of activities in an impressive fashion.
The new climbing landscape has been designed in cooperation with Games & Sports Head of Design, Galina Man, and the company’s Vice President of Marketing, Meirav Moshka, with the planners at Berlin’s Creative Centers. Roei Shabtay, Executive Assistant to the CEO at Games & Sports, is more than happy with the result. In particular, he loves how “every area offers a different activity”.
Another specialty of the playground is its distinctive canopy. The entire climbing structure is protected by multiple shade sails arranged in a star-shaped pattern. As severe dust storms can be quite a frequent occurrence in the Be’er-Sheva region, these sails give not only shade, but also protect the playground structures and their users from the bothersome fine grains of sand. Several poles were installed to attach the canopy.
Roei Shabtay explains, “We had to pour a joint foundation to be able to anchor this great number of poles in the ground. The poles for the playground equipment and the poles for the shade sails share one foundation.” Despite the large amount of poles in one place, the designers managed to observe the necessary clearance distance, thus ensuring maximum safety for the children.
This is a project reference of Berliner Seilfabrik, in southern Israel. If you would like to create a relevant custom-made solution in Greece or Cyprus, please do not hesitate to contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org