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It’s a great question to consider if you are beginning to create a play space, however, it is not all that easy to answer given the current scope of architectural and innovation trends. Nevertheless, we have conversations with Landscape Architects, Councils and Schools every day and have noticed common a thread over the past several years – high play structures.
Most commonly seen in large regional parks, some play structures stand anywhere between 5 and 10 metres high. High play structures are often used as the centre piece of a play space, because their high visual dominance and the thrilling play experience they provide attracts families. Children love the excitement and adventure of finding their way through a maze of stairs and ladders to get to the peak and sliding from the top to bottom on huge slides. While a great option, they do present challenges. Generally, with height comes expense due to extra design complexities. However, using play systems such as the customisable spectrum+ system, over against fully custom built structures, is an economical and standards compliant way to go. An additional challenge faced when selecting a high play tower is providing enough play value. Many large play towers look great and serve as a lookout tower, but often lack the play value needed to engage children for an extended period of time. Thus, it is important to partner with an experienced and creative playground designer.
Wanting to join in the fun? See some great ideas below on how to include height into your play space, even if you don’t have a large budget!
There is a whole vista of play tower options available to designers. Correctly designed, play towers look great and provide enough play value to occupy children for long periods of time. The height and bulk of these towers has a strong presence in the landscape that can be seen from a distance, and can provide striking views of the surroundings. Even with small budgets, towers can still be created simply by using linear vertical infill cladding and cosmetic exterior peaks or roofs.
The play space in Zuccoli Estate, Darwin includes a tower that stands at around 6 metres tall, with a slide extending from the top platform.
Rope structures are a great option if a designer is attempting to add some height to their space; they are both visually appealing and provide the climbing play element in a safe way. While other static playground equipment provides enormous play value, no equipment allows children to climb so freely and high as rope structures do. Some of these structures, like the 6.0 Activity Net Centre, stand up to 6 metres high!
An example steel frame rope structure installed at Estuary Estate.
Installing a fort type play structure on a hill or bank can substantially enhance the visual dominance and impact of the play structure, without the cost associated with a high tower play unit. If cleverly designed, it can also deal with the fall height issues often presented in tall structures. This idea creates an excellent focal point for a play space and if it is the intent of the designer, can provide great visual dominance. It also gives opportunities to include mound slides and play elements on and around the slope.
Harcrest Estate play space is a great example of a play structure on top of a mound. The units stand high above the surrounding landscape, making it stand out as the centre piece of the space.
adventure+ is a designer and manufacturer of playground equipment and often works with Landscape Architects, Councils and Schools to create High Play Structures. In house design and manufacturing capabilities allow for flexibility and customisation that can achieve a unique looking, architectural and economical play landmark!