Growing up usually means leaving behind some of our favourite childhood pastimes. Playing ‘pretend’, party bags of lollies, eating playdough. They’re all memories we hold dear and look back on fondly, however, perhaps nothing sparks those feelings of nostalgia more than the thought of killing an afternoon on a jungle gym.
When we see play equipment now, we’re shocked at how small it appears to our fully grown bodies, but when we were kids, we saw play equipment as an endless web of adventure, with twists and turns and stomach-lurching slides that had us feeling real fear.
We thought we’d left such memories behind, but now, a number of leading architects are embracing grown-up versions of apparatuses like slides and rope bridges in the homes of big kids all around the world.
Because slides, it would seem, make for eye-catching and playful centrepieces in even the chicest abodes, when done well, can enhance the functionality of a floorplan.
Interior architects and designers have long been using playful elements like slides, ladders, fireman poles, and climbing walls in residential projects, though it would seem there’s been an uptick in features like these as of late.
Perhaps as more and more families adjust to life at home and indoors in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an increased demand for a house to function as a home, office, playground and more.
A recent residential project from Reflect Architecture in Toronto makes the most of a powder blue indoor slide that seamlessly connects the home’s ground floor to the basement level, where the owner’s three children sleep.
Including a slide was a way for the architects to brighten up the basement level and make it feel more appealing for the couple’s children, however the decision to include a slide was not solely for the kids.
“The slide is a huge central point in the home,” architect Trevor Wallace tells Dwell. “It was a very simple design directive — and actually didn’t come from the kids. The client had always wanted a slide in her home!”
Climbing walls are another playful element being installed. A climbing wall is certainly more cost-effective and far less-permanent than a slide and is easily uninstalled when a household grows out of the idea.
A Melbourne apartment designed by De.Arch Architects makes the most of an internal climbing wall, with matte black hand-holds that plug easily into a plywood backing to allow for new climbing configurations.
Playful elements like these make for unique focal points in modern homes and should well be considered in new architectural projects, should you be willing to make that extra statement in your place.
Considering the potential dangers, it’s always best to recruit an architect or builder that specialises in novel installations like these, so do your research first before simply installing a fireman’s pole to connect two storeys.