Though here on TreeHugger we mostly cover architecture with grown-ups in mind, building engaging environments for young ones is just as important in reality -- after all, kids are twice as active in natural play places than the conventional types. Inspired by surrounding bird habitats, this one-of-a-kind playground in Vail, Colorado uses a series of connected nest-like structures to form a place of imaginative play and exploration.
Denver, Colorado's Tres Birds Workshop created the curved pod-like forms in an homage to vintage ski culture. The work was commissioned by the town, which is a haven for skiiers:
Connecting architecture to place as well as nurturing the connection between humans and the natural environment, tres birds workshop drew inspiration from surrounding bird habitats to form the main concept of the park- three large nest structures. The nests were created using a variety of wood species that make up the rib components and mimic original ski design. Each rib was treated using a mixture of oil, wax and tree resin. Using non-toxic materials was a top priority in building the park. In addition to the wood material and process selected, a stainless steel mesh fabric was used to close off areas in between the ribs.
Woven rope bridges link the nests together, while various details like "hideaway pockets" in the nests give plenty of opportunities for imaginative play. Access for all ages -- even for kids with disabilities -- was taken into account while designing the scheme. The whole playground is lit up by LEDs at night, turning the structures into sculptures that everyone can enjoy.
A wonderful example of how playgrounds could integrate natural features into their design, encouraging a playful interaction with the natural environment; more over at Tres Birds Workshop.