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White, S., Aston, H., Shanley, M., Mooney, M., Minsky, J., 2014.

Playground for Chapel Road Travelers site, Blackpool

Output Type:Artefact
Venue:Chapel Road Travelers site, Blackpool, UK.

This collaborative project was developed with a community of travellers for a site in Blackpool. Commissioned by Left Coast, it has been led by the Manchester School of Architecture Projects group with MArch students Madeleine Mooney and Matthew Shanley acting as Project architects. The project began with a number of engagement events building up relationships with the community and understanding what their needs and desires were. While the initial commission was for a playground, the proposals developed into a coherent set of interventions to change the perception of all the existing community facilities on the site, which are little used. The current play area is nicknamed "the compound" by the local children and this play-structure along with decorative and landscape interventions around the site are intended to make both external and internal communal areas into personalised playscapes for the residents' children. Due to the nature of such sites the equipment has to be designed to stimulate the imaginations and movements of a full range of ages and the design team has attempted to fold in as many playful allusions as possible into the form and detail of the construction: caves, forts, shipwrecks, merry-go-rounds, water-falls and a 'wall of death'. The construction takes the form of an innovative CNC cut plywood stressed skin, which spreads loads reducing the requirement for foundations and enabling prefabrication and easy site-assembly. Structural design support comes from STL projects limited. The playground has to meet rigorous British standard requirements and has been certificated by Play inspections limited. Working together with 24 Design Limited we tested a number of prototypes and worked with Artist/Maker Jason Minsky, himself a former MMU graduate, in order to develop and deliver the design for construction.