New children’s playground at Ashburnham Community School

London / United Kingdom / 2017

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The opening of the new children’s playground at Ashburnham Community School in West London was met with shrieks of delight, as the children got a first taste of the recently transformed school grounds. The project was initiated and funded by The Bryan Adams Foundation, that has been supporting the school since 2014, and designed by Foster + Partners, working closely with playground designers Made From Scratch. The refurbishment is a key part of the school’s strategy to create a holistic learning environment for its pupils. It replaces asphalt play areas with a dynamic mix of hard and soft surfaces, natural vegetation, and specially designed play structures for the school children, while also incorporating state-of-the-art sports courts.


 


The Playground


The beach sandpit is landscaped with boulders and untreated timber, and has a hardwood canopy that collects rainwater. This feeds a series of custom built steel and timber troughs, allowing children to interact and experiment with different materials, and creating a sensory environment for learning and play. A nest swing hidden in a bamboo grove, and a living willow pod perched on a platform create a hidden oasis within the school grounds, built with natural and sustainable materials.


The main climbing structure is over four meters high, and has been inspired by the idea of a dense ‘jungle’ that the children can climb up, under and through. This tangle of logs, balance beams, rope bridges, nets and green climbing vines is non-prescriptive in form, and can become anything the imagination allows, while providing varied physical challenges as children navigate the structure.


A timber treehouse, handcrafted from hardwood, nestles up the largest tree in the school grounds. Sympathetically responding to the form of the tree, it provides a high vantage point over the new playground, and a den for imaginative and socio-dramatic play. Situated at the end of the new sports pitches, is a new landscaped amphitheatre, large enough accommodate a whole class for outdoor lessons, or as an informal viewing area for the sports pitches.


The landscaping of the playgrounds has been carefully designed to include trees and a shrubbery that are low maintenance, yet provide seasonal variety throughout the year. The planting has been carefully planned to counteract air and noise pollution from the surrounding streets. Vegetable patches enrich the learning process, while the storage and lighting strategies have also been rationalised throughout the play areas.

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    The opening of the new children’s playground at Ashburnham Community School in West London was met with shrieks of delight, as the children got a first taste of the recently transformed school grounds. The project was initiated and funded by The Bryan Adams Foundation, that has been supporting the school since 2014, and designed by Foster + Partners, working closely with playground designers Made From Scratch. The refurbishment is a key part of the school’s strategy to create a...

    Project details
    • Year 2017
    • Work finished in 2017
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Parks, Public Gardens / Urban Furniture