The Meshersky forest is a public park on a 10-hectare plot of land in the Moscow region. Our bureau developed some of its landscaping — it was required to organically blend sports and children’s areas into the environment and provide good recreation in nature.
All-season spaces have been organized for active sports: in the summer, you can run, rollerblade or bike, and in the winter, there are ski tracks. The park is ideal for leisurely walks alone, as a couple, with family, or with friends; play areas take into account children of all ages: their needs and interests.
Nature does not need to be improved, thus our objective was to create a pleasant, profound, and safe relationship with it. To distribute the flows of pedestrians, cyclists, dog walkers, skiers, and people with children. We added decking to sites that park visitors already enjoyed — benches, fallen logs, overlooks on pond banks, and clearings — but made them more pleasant for relaxing. All of the guests now have their own areas: they practice yoga on the forest flooring, athletes run along the routes, families wander along the lake, and fisherman sit at the edge.
“City of Birds” and “Anthill” are two children’s playgrounds that we designed and constructed.
Natural equipment and coverings fit in with the environment, and their design and content are influenced by the park’s natural surroundings. Wood is used to build birdhouses and anthill towers. The sensation of speed and soaring over the forest is pleasurable for both children and adults. There are wooden and stone musical instruments in the clearings where you can compose the music of the forest.
The Anthill playground grows among Meshersky Park’s massive trees, delicately bypassing all of the tree trunks. A forest is a location of interaction with nature for a child, and the play environment fulfills this desire by using natural materials in the landscape and equipment: gravel paths, bark covering, and tunnels constructed of stones with a decorative texture.
The concept of the Anthill playground is based on the way ants live. Each playground “room” offers different types of activities — a room with a swing, a carousel, a separate room for building huts: static, simple-shaped structures serve as the foundation for building huts from branches found in the forest, a separate room with a massive Anthill for active games and gross motor development. All rooms are connected by paths, along which the play takes place.
The site’s dominant feature is a tower shaped like a huge Anthill. Inside the towers, there is a network of mesh tunnels and slides through which youngsters move like actual ants. The larch, from which all of the towers’ primary elements are built, progressively acquires a fine gray hue, and the towers disappear more and more into the trees surrounding it with each season. Every wall is peppered with holes that grow larger as you move higher, flooding the inner space with light. You can see the surrounding nature and the game below through the open roof and small “eyes” in the skin.
A little anthill for children appears on the site to spark conversation. These are interconnected low houses with elements for experimenting with bark (develops fine motor skills). A little slope with grips fashioned from debarked branches for the development of gross motor skills. A lovely ant appears here to reinforce the plot and overall concept of the site.
The tops of the high tower can be seen among the tree trunks from the park’s walking trails – the object also functions as a space marker, indicating to the youngster that something intriguing awaits them ahead.
Meshersky is one of our favorite projects. This place is special for us, and every visit, whether for business or pleasure, becomes a memorable occasion.
Landscape Architecture: AFA Group
Client: Meshersky Park
Other designers involved in the design of the landscape: Artem Parshin (central zone)
Design year: 2015-2021
Year Built: 2016-2022
Photographer: Anton Donikov
Manufacturer of playground equipment: Richter Spielgeräte