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Play Garden

Zone Architects, 2006

Play Garden is an unusual playscape featuring a walled garden for smaller children, with forest follies in the wilder area for older visitors.

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Play Garden is an unusual playscape featuring a walled garden for smaller children, with forest follies in the wilder area for older visitors, a miniature landscape that mimics aspects of the Kielder environment. While the enclosed are provides safe play for younger children, more challenging tower structures in the form of a Cottage, Barn and Castle occupy an open area and suggest past lives of this agricultural and military landscape.

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Play Garden is situated within Leaplish Waterside Park.

OS map ref: NY661878

Play Garden was created by Zone Architect as way of creating a relationship with the 'landscape' of the playground with the actual landscape seen surrounding it and the lost or imagined landscape that once occupied the valley.

The chosen site within Leaplish Waterside Park offered interesting small scale topography and a burn that ran through its middle. Picking up on these features the architects have created a miniature landscape that mimics aspects of the Kielder environment. They created an unusual playscape that features a walled garden for smaller children with more challenging tower structures  for older participants in the form of a Cottage, Barn and Castle that occupy an open area and suggest past lives of this agricultural and military landscape.

A line marked out by a series of steel poles whose tops all lie at the same level, crosses through the play area and encourages visitors to make a connection between the miniature landscape of Play Garden and the now lost landscape that now lies beneath the flat expanse of Kielder Water.

ZONE architects is a practice collaboration between David Jamieson and Suzanne Ewing.

"Architects have a role to play in rethinking everyday experiences and places as well as contributing to the making of extraordinary moments. We have a reputation for providing the highest standards of care over the design of our buildings and the level of service to clients. Alongside built projects, we aim to continue to participate in wider architectural debate and research through teaching, writing and exhibition/presentation."

 

Leaplish Waterside Park is also home to Julia Barton's Shadow, one of the earliest sculptures to be created for Kielder, and Mapping minigolf created by Wolfgang Weileder.

A 20 minute walk along the Lakeside Way in the direction of Tower Knowe Visitor Centre is Freya's Cabin, designed by architects Studio Weave and one of a pair of structures (along with Robin's Hut on the more remote north shore) that face each other across the lake and illustrate the story of Freya & Robin.