Photo credits: BoysPlayNice / www.boysplaynice.com
Pecka Playscape represents a fusion between a playground, a sculpture park and an educational trail, designed on a monumental scale and set in the midst of the enchanting landscape of Krkonoše National Park , Czech Republic. The Architects of this project are Matěj Hájek & Tereza Kučerová (Moloarchitekti).
Inspired by Wildlife
The installations were inspired by wildlife inhabiting the Krkonoše mountains. The playscape is thematically divided into the ” world in the trees“ offering a walk along suspension bridges among the nests of black stork. The landscape then transforms into a ” world in a forest” where it is possible to crawl through a giant spindle conch (Cochlodina), giant viper, animal dens or to be a part of a fight between two species of ants and to drop a wooden ball through an anthill labyrinth. There is a giant lynx that lurks at the edge of the forest with an open mouth that could be climbed into and through to its body. On the meadow there is a fallen deer whose antlers and skeleton serve as a look-out tower and also could be used for climbing and sliding. Down on the meadow spring there sits a salamander whose back is a chute for sliding a wooden ball (“pecka”) down to its paws.
Between Natural Science and Physical Education
From a formal point of view, elements of descriptive nature (e.g. lynx, viper) intertwine with more abstract items (e.g. deer, cochlodina). Each element has its own information panel displaying illustrations featuring educational content. The learning focus of the playscape covers different topics within the disciplines of natural science and physical education.
The diversity in the way the different subjects are represented is paralleled by the varied levels of difficulty of the play elements. The playscape as a whole is a well-considered combination of certified play elements and sculpture installations that complement the character of the local world of wildlife. The designers are thus inviting parents to take part in the play of their offspring. The construction of the different installations is designed with respect to the environment in which they are placed. The choice of materials was guided by the altitude of one thousand meters above sea level and long winter seasons. Last but not least, the natural setting of the site in the protected landscape of Krkonoše National Park had to be taken into careful consideration. The installations are thus qualified as temporary, which is in most cases reflected in their foundations using ground screws.
The prevailing material is larch timber connected with steel elements. Each installation is a kind of prototype. Pecka Playscape is not for wimps. Entering it means stepping into an adventure of your own.
Confrontation of the technical solution with the artistic intention
Building the Pecka Playscape installations called for a close collaboration with the architects as well as for considerable flexibility during implementation. The wildlife installations are sculptures and are therefore extremely demanding in terms of the details which determine their final form. The continuous confrontation of the technical solution with the artistic intention was, in a positive sense, the most demanding experience of the project. Some construction details were modified as the installation proceeded, making it similar to the process of sculpting, looking for a form through the technology of construction.
Sculptures and play elements, all tailor-made:
- Ant fight
- Deer antlers
- Deer skeleton
- Tree world
- Water world
- Relaxing wharves