Visitors to Volkswagen's Autostadt, the museum adjacent to its Wolfsburg factory in Germany, will now find themselves confronted with these grey, blobby forms in the lobby. Is it a sculpture? An ode to Fahrvergnügen? Nope, it's a playground. For kids.
German architect J. Mayer H. has created this "interactive playscape" in collaboration with Renate Zimmer, a professor in sports science at Osnabrück University. The structures look like brushed metal but they're actually made from solid wood, a material chosen to help kids learn about sustainability.
The playground is part of a larger kid-focused program that includes cooking classes and — yes — driving lessons to help kids develop their motor skills (get it?) and spur their imaginations.
The structure itself is presented as a kind of abstract space for self-directed play. It's hard to see in these images, but some of the areas have ropes that even allow the kids to climb up onto some rather steep inclines (with parental supervision, of course).
The idea is that, as they grow, kids will be able to explore different elements of the playground, set new goals for themselves, and continue to be challenged.
It's been shown that challenging play like this can actually help kids learn problem solving and self-confidence. But does it seem a bit too challenging for kids, who might be likely to slide or fall off one of the slippery wooden edges? This would never fly, legally, in the U.S., but personally, I'd love to see playgrounds that are a little more dangerous. [ArchDaily]
Photos by Uwe Walter for Autostadt Wolfsburg