Our latest project, Plot 5 in East Village is a vibrant piece of public space in Stratford (UK). Its playful character is a true magnet for both visitors and residents in this new residential neighborhood. The space stretches between the building blocks, as a side track, but it still remains significant in the overall urban development.
Carve designed the public realm to work as a ‘shared space’, so it is open and easy to access. It is active and stimulates interactions. The zones are defined by ‘informal boundaries’ such as seatings and concrete edges that allow to outline the space without creating any physical barrier.
The captivating triangular shape of the adjacent building inspired the creation of a regular pattern, which serves as the foundation for our design. The argyle-base pattern (obtained from the combination of two triangles) seamlessly integrates the play zones, the pedestrian space and the building itself.
Plot 5 exists out of “Hills” and “Clouds”. A sequence of spaces that allows everyone to be involved in the play experience.
The ”Hills” are constructed from coral-red blocks, forming an adventurous hide-and-seek maze. Children can explore different routes in-between, climb up for a lookout, or crawl through to hide from their friends.
The “Cloud” is a 4-meters-tall light blue structure that hovers above the ground. It is composed of different modules creating multiple routes to be discovered. It challenges older kids to climb up and find lounging spots which they can observe their friends from above through its semi-transparent skin.
The blocks have simple forms in order to lead children to play with an “open function” and therefore stimulate their imagination and narrative. We intentionally create play spaces that avoid individual and definitive meanings.
The argyle blocks are made of perforated metal sheets which ensures the light-weight appearance of the structure together with a semi-transparent look. Children can enjoy the feeling of being in their own world while also being easily supervised from the outside.
The playzones stands out for its coral-red and light blue tones, which relate to the surrounding facades of the buildings. The colours are bright and able to rekindle the city background, creating a striking contrast with London’s often overcast skies.
There are 50 new trees providing shade and areas of evergreen and herbaceous planting providing a splash of colour throughout the seasons. At first glance, the trees might appear to break the argyle pattern, but they actually perfectly integrated into it. As approaching the terrace zone, the green carpet becomes denser. The tree species selected for Plot 5 harmonize with the ones of the close-by Victory Park, creating a continuous green link.
Instead of relying on typical playground equipment, which can often be prescriptive and rigid in dictating how to play, the design approach leans toward creating playable landscapes. These may consist of compact spaces or objects that have the flexibility to take on various meanings depending on the time, users, and ever-changing conditions.
In a large city like London, the aim is to design welcoming and engaging areas to spark play and foster users to discover all the affordances. Aspiring to create places where residents are drawn to spend time and connect with their neighbors outdoors.
“For us, the Plot 5 play space is a crossing field among community spaces, serving the functions of public space and representing a non-standardized play area.”
Landscape Architecture/Playscape Design: Carve
Completion: August 2023
In collaboration with: Townshend Landscape Architects
Location: Liberty Bridge Rd, East Village, London, UK
Area: ca. 2000 m2
Carve Team: Elger Blitz, Mark van der Eng, Jasper van der Schaaf, Hannah Schubert, Thomas Tiel Groenestege, Henry Roberts, Johan de Bokx
Photo Credits: © Anna Brooks, © Omer Kanipak, © Ben Slater
Plan Credits: © Carve