Matter Design and FR|SCH Projects have teamed up to design a communal play structure in Lexington, Massachusetts. The new structure is located on the sloping landscape in Five Fields, a historic neighborhood designed and developed by the Architects Collaborative in the early 1950s.
The designers describe the Five Fields Play Structure as a landscape for childish exploration. The structure is designed to cultivate a child’s imagination through play. It encourages inventiveness through its unfolding, discoverable spaces. The playscape is tailored to child size, but still accessible to adults. It prioritizes the child user, in order to both liberate and educate. It invites the older user to reminisce, and rediscover. The structure is a space for collective imagining and celebrating of all ages.
Just as each child learns differently in school, so the Five Fields Play Structure offers diverse but equal means of engagement. Visual, auditory, and kinesthetic elements create distinct moments of use. The playscape is an unfolding of views, movements, and spaces. Levitating volumes overlap at certain points to create hidden thresholds. Smaller children crawl, while larger ones climb, as a varied means of reaching discoverable spaces. Colorful graphics suggest entries and moments of use, without being overtly prescriptive. Elements like doors and stairs exist, but not as expected. Movement through the playscape culminates in dead ends. But to the child, they are vistas of discovery that look out onto the landscape.
LOCATION: Lexington, Massachusetts, USA
SITE: Five Fields Neighborhood Common Land
SIZE: 115 sqft – 36′ long, 18′ tall, 4′ wide, 66′ zipline
PROGRAM: Play structure
PRINCIPAL: Brandon Clifford
COLLABORATOR: Michael Schanbacher – FR|SCH Projects
GRAPHIC DESIGN: Johanna Lobdell
PROJECT TEAM: Dar Adams, Courtney Apgar, Josh Apgar, Michael Leviton, Daniel Marshall, Chris McGuiness, Dan Roseman
KID CONSULTANTS: Liam Apgar, Mack Apgar, Bella Dubrovsky, Sam Leviton, Ainsley Schanbacher, Judson Schanbacher