Somerville Adventure playground play-barn

Somerville Adventure Playground is like a holiday island, surprising, hidden, colourful. The playground has developed over the last three decades and is an important part of its neighbourhood. The building replaces the existing well used and much loved one within a budget of £500,000.

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Sustainability is key to the project and includes use of low maintenance materials, solar panels and a ground source heat pump.

The building is designed as a play-barn, a large volume constructed from a singular material creating a calm, spatially clear background for the children’s play with a ‘summer house’ constructed from reconditioned shipping containers at the opposite end of the playground for woodwork and bike workshops. A 20 meter long opening to the playground with a family of folding, sliding and pivoting doors enables close contact between the inside and the outside, and makes it possible to use the building as a stage.

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A new passage connecting Somerville Estate with Queens Road will increase community safety and connect the estate better with its surroundings.

To design the building we have been working with the children and playground staff. We have visited Sir John Soane’s House and Construction Resources (centre for sustainable building materials) with the children to aid conversations about their new building and to design a building that is strong, useful and spatially able to accommodate a wide range of activities.

Client: New Cross Gate New Deal for Communities

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