Play Features - Arches
Here is the first of the blogs in the series "Play Features" where I want to talk about different types of play elements or shapes that you identify as play equipment, or even features that contribute to "play" for kids in a playground or home. I'm sure you have observed that the shapes you associated with play or those you were familiar with growing up have almost vanished. It is the era of unstructured play - from completely blank open spaces to other worldly equipment design that you see in modern playgrounds. Incidentally, we build them all!! This blog feature - Arches.
I'm no architect, but from the little I have heard from friends and colleagues who are, arches are a very important structural component in architecture.
Not to state the obvious, but who hasn't seen an arch. They are everywhere - one of the most common uses for arches though are at entrances. In Bangalore there is a saying among some of our builder clients - the best way to get people in is to build an elaborate entrance arch. That is true for entrances of all kinds right - events, place of worship, schools, etc. The bigger the arch, the more grand looking an arch, the more eclectic the design of the arch - the more it stands out and welcomes people in, giving them a sense of warmth and excitement as they enter. It is this combination of familiar (warmth) and new (excitement) that I strive to bring into playground equipment design.
By definition, an arch is supposed to be curved. But a quick google search for "modern entrance arches" will reveal some very classy looking straight line features that are far removed from the looks of a conventional arch. Come to think of it, even a door to a room is an arch isn't it? Why did I bring up a door in the context of play you ask? What play can you expect from a door? Anyone with a kid at home will give you your answer.
Let me come to the point of this blog - If you have ever spoken to me before, you know I use climbing and balance as a core in my play designs. And in almost all my playground designs, I include some form of an arch. Arches provide kids an opportunity to climb (gain some verticality), and find their sense of balance when they need to transition into the descent. Climb up one end and come back down the other.
I use an arch as a climbing feature to enter a higher level of a tower or a tree house parched a few feet above ground. I also use it as a stand alone element.
It's a lot of fun imagining the possibilities of climbing and coming down using the construct of an arch. We have designed and installed arches with rungs of different types to ascend, and a slide to descend. We have used an arch as a part of our PlayLine series (ask us more about this if interested). Our latest arch is called the Nano arch for the 2-5 year olds and it comes with a slide that the parent can attach to increase the versatility of the arch. The Nano arch can also be flipped over and used as a rocking toy.
Not too much more to say about arches really... Check out some of our installations and products with arches below and don't forget to read the descriptions...
This is one of our largest arches coming up at a height of 6 ft at the highest point.
I added a minimalist slide on the way down.
Our most popular arch with preschools - the Mini Climbing Arch.
This one has seen a few designs and material changes. This makes for a fun tunnel as well.
My vision of an "Entrance Arch" to a magical playground, albeit a small one. For the 5 year old who uses it, this feature is everything - an entrance, a portal to a dimension of play, and a play element in itself.
This one was just for fun. Part of our PlayLine series installed at a residential property.
This funky "semi-octal" arch deviates from the conventional arch shape but serves
the same purpose - gaining entrance to the treehouse.
Here's another arch that allows entry into the higher level of our Two-Towers.
Spiral around a tree. Is this an arch?
Well no, but I did end up using an arch-like shape in this construction to add stability to the Spiral.
Nano Arch - If you have a 2-5 year old at home and want to include this as a part of his/her play experience, reach out to us.