What if a neighborhood came together to build a playground on an empty lot? It's cool, but it's been done before. Taking it a step further, what if that playground was made from recycled household materials from the neighboring homes? Rotterdam-based BOARD presented that very idea in its “The Recycled Apartment” proposal. The Recycled Apartment won second prize at the Richard Krajicek Foundation Playground awards, and it's one of the most interesting ideas that has evolved from the urban pocket park movement.
The competition jurors saw the benefit of the design, both in principle and sustainability. By collecting recyclable materials from the local residents the energy required to transport new materials to the playground will be reduced significantly. The design also helps fight global warming by providing the local communities around the playground with regional gardens and recreation areas.
The design also helps fight global warming by providing the local communities around the playground with regional gardens and recreation areas.
BOARD began their design by first recognizing the competition organizers’ wish to involve the surrounding buildings as much as possible. They enlarged a typical neighboring apartment floor plan by 500% and presented it as the ground plan of the new playground.
The main sense of ownership will come ultimately from the materials that the residents will donate to the development of the playgrounds. Materials, such as old tiles, clothes, coins, bottles, pallets, wheels, corks, and picture frames, will be collected from residents to build the playground.
This will give the final design privileges to the neighborhood, and ultimately it will help to develop a higher degree of identification for the residents. Each pocket playground will therefore become unique, and BOARD suggests that this will provide for an economically sustainable business model.
All-in-all, the idea of pocket playgrounds made from recycled materials from the neighborhoods is a great approach to the ever-changing global market and global climate. BOARD may have proposed this design for the Netherlands, but this can be applied in any developed country around the world – and it should!