Landscape Architecture: ANNABAU
Sculptural Playground, Schulberg
Location : Wiesbaden, Germany
Architecture and Landscape Competition Entry, 1st prize
Construction : 2011
The retrofitting of the “Schulberg” in Wiesbaden (Germany) has resulted in more than new paving and fresh trees in a once out-grown crack of a central square. The firm ANNABAU has decided to implement something for the kids as well as the parents (or care-takers who accompany them).The designers idea of a public space where PLAY is at the city center of Wiesbaden, has attracted people of all ages and ethnical backgrounds to meet, communicate, and of course, play.
The focus feature of the new public space is based on an idea of play. The playground creates a whimsical edge to the play area while managing to remain within scale. The leaf green color scheme is a complement to the old world earthen colors of the cathedral and surrounding shops.
Three main elements define the playground:
The main element is a spatial sculpture consisting of two green steel pipes winding and floating in between a ring of trees, undulating in height and width. Hung between these, the tensile climbing ropes create a continuous sequence of gaming activities for children and dont forget teens as well!
The pentagonal shape of the structure is inspired by the historic shape of the city of Wiesbaden, while the up and downs of the pipes are referring to urban situations on site, generating gateways into imaginary caves and lookout points for pirate ships on the horizon.
The structure does not exceed the height of 3 m (~9.5 ft) to fulfill the safety regimentation for playground designs. Within the loop there are six main stopovers for playing activities: in a liane garden the kids can climb up and down or swing in between lianes with different levels of difficulty. Further stopovers in the parcour are bouncing membranes, a tunnel, a nest swing, a sliding membrane and a steep climbing wall.
The second element of the playground is constituted by modeled topography being enclosed by the climbing sculpture. Small hills and rings, made from green soft rubber granulate, surrounded by sand, frame the interior ring of trees and offer playing facilities for younger children, or provides meeting or resting spaces for teens and parents.
A third element of the design is a boulevard constituted by a wide pathway around the playground providing benches for parents and the elderly who come to watch their children play or enjoy the stunning outlook over Wiesbaden. A small and elegantly rounded curb follows the pentagonal shape of the playground and separates the playground from the boulevard and the dangers that are associated.
The completion of this park has acted as a catalyst for the revival of the adjacent areas. The new projects include: the reconstructed Kunsthaus (museum and artist‘s studios), the monument of the former Synagogue and the restored Römertor (a Roman aqueduct from the 3rd century) the Schulberg can be seen as a catalyst in this previously neglected area.
This design acts as a crafty alternative to the simply green-play lawn or deconstructivist forest type of urban park. The central idea of reclaiming an area in the name of play has given this city center a fun gathering space. A giggle instead of a hiccup along the medieval streets and town squares.