Inclusive Children’s Playground in Les Planes Park

AMB

Architects: AMB (Jona García, Montse Garcia)
Location: L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Spain
Year: 2017 - 2019
Photography: Joan Guillamat

The new inclusive children’s playground is located on what was once a large esplanade, where misuse by dogs transformed it into a seriously neglected area in the park. It was a space linking neighbourhoods in the municipality rather than a place to remain and enjoy.

The main measure in the upgrade is the transformation of the old central esplanade into a new space that facilitates the inclusion of all children and the people with them, enhancing social interaction.

The new leisure facility in the centre of the park is circular and is on two levels, connected by a slope with a constant gradient. It also revolves around the park’s historic landmark, the brick chimney, which is highlighted by paving the base with ceramic pieces, evoking its former role.

The lower esplanade houses most of the playground facilities and is designed without any architectural barriers to ensure accessibility for children. It also contains rest areas, with fountains, benches, litter bins, and new deciduous trees to provide shade in summer. The original slope becomes an additional play feature linking the two levels, housing slalom and climbing features, and slides of various sizes and types. The upper level is also part of the play area and is completed with a protective railing above the slate wall, providing a viewpoint over the whole playground.

The facility is surrounded by a strip of concrete paving that acts as the main entrance, a rest area with trees, and a transition area between the new facility and the park, and is completed with two side sets of stairs connecting the levels.

In addition to the inclusive factor, sustainability and maximum integration into the environment are two other strong points. Two large drainage strips that allow infiltration into the ground, which on the surface are in the areas containing the benches and the new trees, collect the rainwater from the entire playground. The evergreen and deciduous tree species planted provide shade all year round, thereby ensuring the comfort of users. The intervention integrates with the surroundings by minimising earthmoving, adapting the project to the terrain’s existing geometry, and using materials already in the park, such as slate for the new retaining walls and concrete for the perimeter strip.

The project’s starting points and guidelines of inclusiveness, sustainability and integration with the surrounding area have made the new inclusive area in Les Planes Park a benchmark in the town and in the network of metropolitan parks, where hundreds of children of all ages socialise and enjoy their free time every day.