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AFA Group: Based on the region uniqueness and focusing on the potential Playground is always starting with deep research and a broad, inclusive vision. It’s not so much about design technologies at first stage, but a great deal of focus on positive changes and opportunities in a more diverse, attractive and livable urban environment. That is a real challenge – to make public space comfortable for everyone and to adapt the city to families interests at the same time.
位置 ：它是如何进行并影响设计概念? Location: how it goes and affects the concept?
It’s a city center. Blucher Square. Historic and typical in many ways: with iconic architecture, old buildings and walkable streets. But generally, it felt like the place has lost the light of its visual identity and has become some kind of walk-through area. Nobody spent much time here. And it rather seemed to be an unkempt or lost territory than an inviting public space.
So we had a big intention and an exciting goal to create a new point of attraction – highly dynamic and welcoming both for locals and tourists. To set a new benchmark in the region, in a sense. With great attention and care for all historical and social meanings that come together in the space.
While designing the project, we tried to catch a local specialty, feel the unique flavor and find features to differ Khabarovsk from other cities. And the team succeeded in identifying some distinguished ones that helped us to come up with the playground concept and make it match with the historical background and everyday life. Like red and gray brick combinations in Old city architecture, for example, or straight regular development. A city on three hills and two rivers has been given a new life in PLAYHUBarovsk.
价值和功能 Values and functions
How to create an experience that will be valued for years? Maybe just observe and follow the city residents and visitors’ experience? That’s how we are doing. Explore the routes and surrounding areas, study different scenarios in effort to find real public needs and place potential. Based on the conclusions and functional characteristics, the whole space in our project was divided into several areas – events venue, playhub and recreation.
We also found out that Blucher Square remained a common place for local events, activities and community meetings for a long time. Trying to save this value, we designed a large open area in PLAYHUBarovsk and separated it from the road and public stop by lime trees. On the other side, there is a small café pavilion on the podium, which serves as a stage and also as a lounge under the canopy for parents keeping eyes on their littles.
The stream running along the entire playhub, is the Amur River generalized character. It stops at a wide bowl with mist and a fountain. Water also serves as the boundary between the walkway and the playing spot.
关键设施和空间划分 Key tools and space division
The main element and space accent in PLAYHUBarovsk is an extended, multilevel wall of red brick — a direct reference to Khabarovsk’s most bright and eye-catching historic architecture. The shape of the wall imitates natural city relief with lots of ups and downs almost everywhere. Thus, it was not surprising that three hills and two lowlands with different stuff appeared in the playground design.
The first hill with a lodge on top is for toddlers. The wall changes here and becomes like a play slope with a slide, climbing and a small secret hiding place. There is a big sandpit with swings and shuffles for the littles on this part of the playground.
The second height is all about creativity and experiments. Now the wall turns into steps, easy to climb from all sides. Here you can lift water from a stream, run it through channels, mix with the sand, build dams and look for hidden fish or animals. There is a platform with a water pump and troughs at the hilltop, where you can make water cascades or spin a water mill.
And finally, the third one – with a tower and slide for children over seven. Here is the highest point of the wall, filled with different descending and climbing routes. You can view the entire playground from the tower platform and also have 5-meters going down. A climbing forest with ropes, nets and spider webs for the more adventurous, that is very popular with teenagers, is located at the foot of the hill.
The wall gently goes down between those hills and transforms into seating areas or almost disappears to form two big playing lowlands. The first one is a large-scale creative sand zone adapted for all ages and disabilities. The other offers dynamic activities with a merry-go-round, rocking boat and jumping discs.
As the playground is close to a residential building, it was important to create a quiet zone along the facade. So we decided to establish here a so-called buffer — a green area with a narrow, winding walkway not accessible to scooters, joggers, crowds and so on. It is adjoined by swings and hammocks suitable for children’s games as well as for relaxing adults. A soft light in the evening ensures a sense of security and keeps the spotlight out residential windows.
绿化空间基础设施 To green the space infrastructure
Landscaping is another option that helps us to design and beautify the places. It was crucial for the team and the space environment to preserve all the large-scale existing trees on the site and PLAYHUBarovsk just surround them with new matching ones. Only a few emergency hazardous plants with strongly sloping trunks had to be removed.
To create a cosy garden atmosphere, we’ve planted extra fruit trees and flowerbeds. And hung garlands that provide romance and charm in the evening. All the plants have been selected to suit the typical regional climate with no special care requirements.
In summary, while designing the PLAYHUBarovsk project, the architects tried to create the most diverse and open space for playing different scenarios and chilling every day. The team’s great achievement is not only managing to set up a multifunctional playground with a variety of zones and elements, but also to save the city identity, bringing new life into the space, and to produce a new iconic landmark of Khabarovsk. Clearly, it’s great to see how the implemented design changes the citizens’ lives by giving them more joy, comfort and attractive options. And we sincerely hope that children, who grow up and spend time in such a varied and well-matched area today, will once build a beautiful future and embody their broad, cool worldview also in an urban environment.
设计：AFA group bureau
Project Name: PLAYHUBarovsk
Location: Khabarovsk, Russia
Architects: AFA group bureau
Area: 1, 07 ha (4 acres)
Year: 2021 – 2022
Client: PIK (PJSC)
更多 Read more about：AFA Group