Constructing from Unaltered Trees: Artistic Raw Nature Playgrounds

Bureau Chekharda

Architects: Bureau Chekharda
Location: Russia

Bureau Chekharda designs and builds artistic raw nature playgrounds. We believe in the excellence and wisdom of nature, regarding it as the best environment for adults and children. There is a lack of pure nature in cities, and our playgrounds compensate for this deficit. To create genuine nature spaces we use raw materials, including unaltered geometry trees.

It is more difficult to design using unpredictable organic trees than using standardized materials when it comes to calculating load points and physical properties. Besides, playing elements must correspond with strict safety standards written for linear geometric playgrounds. To carry out the complex calculations for non-linear forms, one needs to rely on digital technologies and 3D modelling software.

To find suitable trees at the forest plot, we use 3D scanning of growing trees and photogrammetry. This helps us to choose the right trees for future playing structures, to calculate the points for rope fastenings and joints. Then we develop the sketch design and shop drawings. Only once we finally make sure that this definite tree is suitable for the playing element does the careful tree extraction follow. This approach helps us to minimize harm to nature.

The following four projects illustrate how unaltered geometry trees can be used in real playgrounds.

“Marching Trees” playground, Serebryaniy Bor Park, Moscow

This playground is inspired by Russian Avant-garde art. The circle of the wooden deck is crossed by the daring straight line of the climbing tunnel. The supports made from unaltered geometry trees seem to march through the playground like bizarre creatures, inviting visitors into a world of fantasy and art. To add intrigue, one tree seemingly marches out of the deck circle as if intending to escape back into the forest.

“Whispering Stumps” playground near Mega shopping Mall, Yekaterinburg

Scandinavian mythology and Russian fairy tales, with their forest spirits and mysterious swamp inhabitants, were a source of inspiration for this playground. The bizarre curved forms of the playing elements made from natural geometry trees help to create a legendary feel and an atmosphere that contrasts with the modern buildings and landmarks.

Playground in “Komsomolets Park”, Kazan

The objects on this playground look like trees that have come alive, walked out of the park and are pretending to be playground constructions. Visitors get the impression that the forest itself decided to have fun and play with the kids. Several bizarre towers, made of natural tree trunks, standing up straight or upside down, form the focal point of the playground.

Playground “Wave”, Zelenodolsk, Tatarstan

This project was a response to our client’s wish to make a playground in a forested part of the park with a high metal tower and solid playing equipment. We considered that the unaltered geometry trees would form the best combination with the grey metal, while at the same time fitting in perfectly with the surrounding environment. The name “Wave” refers to the curved branches of the trees and to the undulating lines of the metal landmark designed in the spirit of Constructivism.