LE XA KINDERGARTEN COMMUNITY SPACE
Playground and Landscape Design
Group Research Project
The project is an experiment in ground-up participatory design approach in creating community spaces. On the first trip to Vietnam, we conducted field studies and site analyses, design workshops and focus group discussions with local teachers, parents and village authorities. I was mainly in charge of the design proposal for the landscape of the space, which ended up being implemented until the final stage of the construction process. Within the 3 months leading up to the second trip, I was actively involved in refining the playground design (tyre mountain and equipment). Along with 3 other students, I had worked through multiple iterations, taking into careful consideration the feasibility and costs of production. On the second trip, I was in charge of directing a team of volunteers to construct the tyre mountain within 5 days. I had learned how to efficiently direct and manage resources within a short period of time. I had also learned how to be quick on my feet and improvise when things did not go as planned.
The design is an agglomeration of individual efforts in creating a new kind of learning space that celebrates the creative and improvisational nature of a child’s play. The various uses of recycled tyres teach the children about the infinite possibilities of repurposing scrap materials. The tyre mountains create a new terrain that captures their imagination and motor skills, while the sensory wall provides an interactive play that engages all of their 5 senses. Yet the influence is not limited to the playground. All around the kindergarten, vibrant mural paintings enliven the spaces with fantastical sceneries and wildlife. There’s also a landscape design that brings greenery back into the built environment, creating pockets of spaces that are in harmony with nature.