city as playground

Huizinga proclaimed that play is a serious matter.

In the picture above, 12 different floorplans of classrooms in Werner Seyfert’s school buildings. Depending on children’s age, space is organised in a forum-like or a blackboard-addressed configuration, avoiding monotonous authoritarian models of a rectangle.

“Hard, psychologically opaque, or merely intellectually conceived forms can stir semiconscious feelings of alienation in their users; they are not experienced as physically or psychologically user-friendly.” David Adams describing the organic functionalism of Rudolf Steiner’s school buildings for Waldorf pedagogic movement.

In order to recover that creativity, which rectangular Functionalism had already seized from citizens, 700 playgrounds were built in vacant derelict urban plots of postwar Amsterdam by Aldo van Eyck between 1947-1978.

“The focus of how space could be appropriated, stood in clear opposition to the prevailing modernist conception of space in architecture” (Merijn Oudenampsen). Just by providing variable and simple steel-bar structures all over the city, children would use their imagination to recreate worlds of fantasy.

[Image above> Werner Seyfert's floorplans for classrooms according to age from waldorf reserach institute]

[Image below> Aldo van Eyck's playground in Amsterdam from flexmens.org]

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