We recognize that playgrounds and both intelligent design and evolution support each other in the development of new ideas. We often find ways to reconcile form and function. Originally, playgrounds were developed by landscape architects who sought to create public spaces that would bring communities together. Artists took action to show their influence and in the process began to explore more creative forms of playgrounds.
So how did we get here? Today’s traditional “post and platform” design wasn’t always the norm.
By 1900, playgrounds appeared in major American cities and consisted of a sandbox and a cubist metal climbing machine known as the “high school”. In 1912, New York City decided that these gyms were unsafe and were removed from all parks. In the 1930s, landscape architects took a serious interest in playground design, and sculptor Isamu Noguchi introduced abstract concepts that helped enliven the modern playground.
After WWII, Baby Boom needed more Most post-war city playgrounds were designed for shared use between schools and parks. During the fifties, however, playground designers split into two camps: the leisure movement (fitness) and the arts. The game was a structured event. The idea of the unstructured game had not yet settled. The development of security surfaces was slow at best. The playground was limited to sandbox, seesaw, slides and swings. In the 1950s, attention was paid to the “disabled”, ironically, the wounded of the Second World War and the arrival of Korean fighters on playgrounds with their children. Noguchi’s famous design from 1952 to the UN was rejected by Robert Moses and sparked heated debate. The design was revolutionary but not understood and never built.