The Brutalist Playground exhibition, organized this summer by RIBA, invites people to explore the concrete playgrounds of the post-war era in an interactive way. Drawing inspiration from photographs and archival material in RIBA's collection, London-based architecture collective Assemble and artist Simon Terrill created a special installation which recreates the Brutalist playgrounds in reconstituted foam. The playground, photographs and projections illuminate issues surrounding materiality and the nature of risk in play.
Part sculpture, part architectural installation, the exhibition revisits the mid-century playgrounds often made from concrete. Featuring examples from a number of London estates, including Churchill Gardens, Pimlico; the Brunel Estate, Paddington and the Brownfield Estate in Poplar, the exhibition evokes the “disappearing world of concrete mazes and windswept walkways”. In order to bring the topic closer to visitors, the organizers have decided to include an interactive playground space that raises questions over design for play from both a historic and contemporary perspective. Elements of tree Brutalist playgrounds were recreated in 1:1 scale and placed inside the Architecture Gallery at 66 Portland Place in London.
The project, part of the London Festival of Architecture, included a public program of talks, debates and film screenings as well as workshops and events for families. It was launched with introduction talk given by Simon Terrill, members of Assemble and other experts in the field.
Photos by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for RIBA