The children of Yingchung Village in the Sichuan Province of China, home of the “winding woods”, have received a dream play installation in form of a suspended climbing net that puts them in the landscape as they play.
Located in Yingchun Village, Pengzhou City, Sichuan Province, China, the Grand Sanhe Courtyard is one of the few local multifamily settlements in the area. Set within a forested area the locals call Lin pan (winding wood), the courtyard is connected to the surrounding landscape via a system of winding and dense paths, likened to a system of nets.
It is from this topography that the concept of a ‘net’ was utilised by designers to create a play installation consisting of a series of climbing nets set like random hills on the landscape. The designers call it Weaving Dream.
The organic formation of the installation provides children with unstructured space to use their imaginations and explore possibilities.
Constructed on an open green space surrounded by trees, the centrally located net playspace connects the woods, broken walks, river ditches, courtyards and local amenities.
Not wanting to disturb the existing landscape, designers placed Weaving Dream in a way that would harmoniously integrate the playspace into the environment rather than interrupt it. The elevated nature of the structure allows grass to grow freely and existing trees on the site to continue to grow unimpeded, and lifts users into the canopy to play among the treetops.
The undulating slopes of the climbing net provide varied levels of climbing challenges and promotes freedom of choice as children of all ages scamper in the direction that best suits their abilities, or find a hollow in which to rest and look up at the trees.
To ramp up the excitement, fixed obstacles have been integrated into the next to promote physical challenges and simulate the difficulties in real mountain climbing. Four auxiliary play methods were also added to the structure: jumping, trampolines, ground crossing, mesh tunnels and rocking hammocks.
These added elements provide sensory integration that help to develop reflexes, motor balance, and large and fine muscle groups via climbing, jumping, grasping and releasing actions.
Like all open play structures, Weaving Dream is whatever kids make of it. The scope for play value is determined by the imagination and enthusiasm of its users.