The hill of play-Playground of The Kindergarden Affiliated to Renmin University of China
Site: 1.200 square meter
Type: Architectural landscape design
Time: From July 2019 to September 2019
Architects: Yuan Ye, Mi Aoxue
Client: Kindergarten affiliated to Renmin University of China (Shaoyao Kindergarten)
Construction manager: Tang Wusi
Photography and Video: Lv Bo, Li Benpao
When we were young, we often played the game of "attacking the Mountain Top". In fact, the "Mountain Top" was only a few meters or less than a meter of small slope. In retrospect, it maybe associated with the war movies I saw at that time. However, "mountains" have an infinite attraction for a child of any generation. A child has an upward force and an indefinable sense of achievement but he climbs a mountain, even if it is only a small parcel.
When the principal Li of Chaoyang Kindergarten affiliated to Renmin University of China connected me and said that he wanted to transform the original outdoor space covered with plastic floor, my first reaction was to design a "mountain", a game hill.
Beijing is surrounded by mountains, but it's hard to see in the city, and even in the kindergartens. For children who living in the city, living with mountains every day is an unattainable dream. Sine it is “garden”, a miniature hill is piled in the “garden” surrounded by skyscraper. Like scene of nature, is it not interesting to make a biggest toy in the kindergarten?
According to the kindergarten “L” form, we designed a free gourd curve into a structured garden. A green grassy slope rises from the colored pervious concrete floor around the corner, forming a continuous undulating hill. The profile of the hill resembles the back of a whale, and at its highest point, an oval wooden platform floats at a height of about 1.2 metres, under which children can hide. The platform is marked by a tall locust tree. A child can climb a low hill or choose a challenging trapezoidal climbing board on the other side. Three stainless steel slides of different heights, lengths and angles await them after a brief "vertigo" before they return to the ground. And then, again and again...
On the side of the hill, a small four-vaulted treehouse is supported by four steel legs, from which a stainless steel cylinder slide spins down, resembling a large tail or nose. The treehouse stood a little awkwardly beside hill, they are look like playmates. A small tree passed through the treehouse and grew through an opening in the roof. A narrow staircase leads to the treehouse and into the enclosed interior space. You can stop there and see the grated outside through the cracks in the wood, and you can look up along the trunk to see a little sky. Finally, slipping down the slide implies a condensed life journey from the little "home" to the big "world" in the instantaneous transition from darkness to light.
Under the hill, there are small packets scattered in the shape of steamed bread and pits, which are small "accidents" deliberately created in the scene. Teachers worried about that these bumps and depressions are dangerous for children. In fact, accidents did happen when the playground was built and used -- adults tripped and fell. However, the children quickly accepted and adapted to these unfamiliar obstacles. They walked around or over "little hills" as if they didn't care at all. They stand on the hill and competed who stand for long time; they squatted down to allow themselves to slide slowly down; they put on their wellies and jumped into puddles with a bright white splash after the rain.
Imagine that every kindergarten in China has a hill of play.