ALDO VAN EYCK PLAYGROUNDS PDF

Over the course of his career he created a network of more than playgrounds throughout the capital. Today, only a handful of these remain intact. The following extract from the book seeks to introduce the project, and describe its urgency. We live in an era in which there are not many carefully constructed playgrounds. Have we—city decision makers, architects, designers, parents, friends —forgotten to be critical?

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Over the course of his career he created a network of more than playgrounds throughout the capital. Today, only a handful of these remain intact. The following extract from the book seeks to introduce the project, and describe its urgency. We live in an era in which there are not many carefully constructed playgrounds.

Have we—city decision makers, architects, designers, parents, friends —forgotten to be critical? There are so many architects, artists and thinkers of the past who have proven that a playground can be much more than just generic plastic structures placed randomly, constructed by simply flipping through the pages of play equipment catalogues.

One of them is Aldo van Eyck , who designed a large number of public playgrounds for the city of Amsterdam. They played in the concrete sandpits, hung upside down on the tumbling bars or invented games in the igloo shaped climbing frames.

Save this picture! Some of the playgrounds in this book are still intact, others share their space with new play equipment and some have completely been modernized, only referring to Van Eyck with a lost climbing frame or a few jumping stones and the fact that a playground remains on a spot that Van Eyck once turned into a play space.

Today his playgrounds are rapidly disappearing and a new type of play equipment is taking over. Bright colours, plastic structures and animal-shaped elements seem to have set the tone, leaving little room for the imagination of the children using them. We feel that this change—and this is not only occurring in Amsterdam but is something cities worldwide are dealing with—is a huge loss. Not only do we plead for the preservation of his playgrounds, but we hope that with this example of how to properly design for children, we can stimulate others to follow in his footsteps.

Parents should be invited to make demands for better playgrounds. Not much later a few playground-trusts arose throughout the city. Access to these supervised and closed-off play- grounds was restricted by membership.

Apart from these there were barely any public playgrounds. But the latter became difficult with the increasing number of cars that slowly drove them off the streets.

Jakoba Mulder, second in charge of the Public Works Department, started the process of making playgrounds public. In she commissioned Van Eyck to design the first public playground, an experiment that became a huge success. From then on the department made sure that each neighbourhood was provided with at least one public playground. In total Van Eyck designed over seven hundred playgrounds that together created a web throughout Amsterdam , giving children their own recognizable domain in the city.

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Aldo van Eyck’s Playgrounds: Aesthetics, Affordances, and Creativity

These public playgrounds were located in parks, squares, and derelict sites, and consisted of minimalistic aesthetic play equipment that was supposed to stimulate the creativity of children. Over the last decades, these playgrounds have been studied by sociologists, theorists of art and architecture, and psychologists. However, it is argued that the standardization e. This standardization, which was arguably the result of the aesthetic motives of the designer, might be appealing to children when simply looking at the equipment, but it is not of overriding importance to them when playing in it. Indeed, a recent study indicates that the affordances provided by messy structures appear to have a greater appeal to playing children.

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Amsterdam's Seventeen Playgrounds: Aldo van Eyck's Neglected Legacy

The playgrounds are all different, but composed by a certain number of recurring elements declined in different sizes and put in varying relationships among them. These shapes are abstract and reduced while capable to form terrains able to richly support inhabitants activities and never influencing them too rigidly. Van Eyck recognized and implemented a connection between an archaic system of forms and the research of avant-garde artists into abstraction and archetypes. The vocabulary of the playgrounds is based on geometric concrete sandpits, which appear like small archipelagos and groups of stepping stones, both massive and anchored in the ground, and lighter structures, arches, domes and frames made of tube steel resonating with archetypes of architecture.

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Aldo van Eyck and the City as Play­ground

Playgrounds by Aldo van Eyck Feature — And outside Amsterdam too, almost every playground had one of his tumbling bars. Durgerdammerdijk in , designed in Displayed inside and outside the museum are pieces of playground equipment designed by Van Eyck. Despite their beautiful simplicity, they look lost in the museum. A better option, of course, is to get on a bike and cycle to those playgrounds that have partly survived. For the site is what matters.

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