A Dozen Playgrounds

A Dozen Playgrounds


“A Dozen Playgrounds” proposes to recuperate playgrounds as space for children, central to the living fabric of the city. Through the development of design strategies that balance prototypical desires with site specificity, similar to Aldo van Eyck’s playgrounds of postwar Amsterdam, this project takes a polycentric, interstitial approach towards Detroit’s network of communities and potential play spaces. Building on the tradition of a neighborhood-centric approach to learning and playing, the project recognizes the importance of Detroit’s K-12 schools as sites where the city’s ambitions for education, community, and citizenship share common ground. Four schools were identified as sites for prototypical playgrounds; the iterative designs for these sites examine three different approaches towards designing interfaces between landscape and urbanism, overlaid with a concern for the natural environment. Through a collaborative partnership and interaction with the Detroit Public Schools, the project imagines two outcomes: a series of proof-of-concept designs that illustrate innovative ways to bring education, community, and water together in a playground; and short, intensive, design-thinking play sessions to introduce the students to design careers and to gain feedback from children about what makes playgrounds vibrant to them.

Project Details

Project Location | Detroit, Michigan
Status | Unbuilt, 2012
Principal in Charge | Jen Maigret, AIA
Collaboration | María Arquero de Alarcón, MAde Studio; R. Charles Dershimer (Clinical Assistant Professor; U-M Director, W.K. Kellogg Foundations Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellows Program)
Project Design Team | Andrew Wolking, Maria Capota, Leigh Davis, Caileigh MacKellar, Justin Meyer, Catherine Truong


Michigan AIA Honor Award, Unbuilt Category, 2013