While children may lack knowledge and a certain fear of death that seems to come with age, one thing they have in abundance is imagination. Sticks can become swords and lines in carpets lava flows. It is surprising then that when we see children’s playgrounds, they are invariably cookie-cutter jungle gyms mass-produced for maximum boredom. 2012Architecten have gone against the grain and made a playground where children’s imaginations can really take wing.
Kinderparadijs Meidoorn in Rotterdam was in need of a revamp and asked the team for their help. This artistic center for children was established in north Rotterdam, the Netherlands in 1997. They choose 2012Architecten for their pragmatic approach to design. The team favors reuse, or as they call it, ”superuse” in their design and this playground was the perfect showcase for their skills. The objects they reuse get a purpose superior to the one they were originally created for. The existing slide, stones and some concrete was reused in the new playground. But the big addition, and what makes this place so special, is the recycling of the blades of a decommissioned windmill. The windmill has been de- and reconstructed to create what looks like a post-apocalyptic landscape, which ironically is also a “Children’s Paradise.” The blades were sourced from within the area, a common occurrence at 2012Architecten. They comb the surroundings for “for end of life materials and production excesses.” This windmill fit the bill for its strength and resistance to the elements, not to mention the vast possibilities of its shapes.
With this playground, 2012Architecten have not only showed the value of reuse, but an appropriately childlike imagination, changing waste into a place of wonder.