Turner Prize-nominated architecture collective Assemble has teamed up with British artist Simon Terrill to create full-size foam replicas of playground styles from architecture’s Brutalist era .


The Brutalist Playground set up fills an total gallery within the Royal Institute of British Architects headquarters on Portland Spot in central London.


Opening to the public tomorrow, the reconstituted foam landscape produced by Assemble and Terrill replicates the shapes of concrete objects in playgrounds that have been built to accompany British Brutalist housing blocks in the mid-20th century.


Visitors can climb on the pastel pink, blue and green objects, which type stairs, slopes, platforms and a slide, as nicely as a huge disc with a yellow metal balustrade that is elevated at one particular end.


The unique playgrounds have been largely demolished, but Terrill found archive images in the RIBA’s library that inspired the exhibition.

Related story: Assemble becomes initial design studio shortlisted for the Turner Prize


“Simon received in touch with us and the description commenced close to the title, Brutalist Playground, and these photos that Simon unearthed from the RIBA archive,” Joe Halligan, one of the members of the Assemble collective, told Dezeen.

“These surreal, concrete, Brutalist playgrounds looked quite risky.”


A lookout platform that extends via the ceiling, giving views out of the gallery’s glass roof, is a recreation of part of the playground at the base of the Balfron Tower, developed by Erno Goldfinger in north west London – 1 of the only authentic styles nevertheless in situ.


The five-metre-wide disc was originally witnessed in the playground at the Churchill Gardens Estate in Pimlico, and freestanding hexagonal blocks are based on concrete steps from the exact same area.


“Some of the objects are too large for the gallery and which is some thing we wanted to emphasise – that these original pieces of landscape inside of these Brutalist estates were massive,” explained Halligan.


Greater pieces in the installation have been developed from steel or wood off-site and covered with different densities of the reconstituted foam, which is manufactured by gluing together recycled offcuts from other foam components. Smaller pieces are reliable foam.


Recreating the shapes of the playground gear in another materials is partly a reference to the Victorian habit of casting – travelling the globe to generate plaster casts of important pieces of architecture to show in British collections and museums like the V&ampA.


“That’s nearly ample of a gesture to display that these things are important and should not be forgotten,” explained Halligan.


By replicating the shapes in foam – a material frequently located in indoor playgrounds – Assemble and Terrill also meant to increase concerns about the way kids are encouraged to play nowadays.


“That translation is trying to question whether or not or not threat in perform is a entirely negative point,” said Halligan.

“The idea that a child can fall off a tree and hurt themselves and that graze on the knee might final a week, but it may also form their see or make find out a small bit about how they stability themselves. And the notion of taking that away, cushioning it and producing it soft and sort of dumbing it down for kids, producing everything primary colors.”


Brutalist Playground runs from 10 June to 16 August at the RIBA’s Architecture Gallery, Portland Spot, London.



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