The Brutalist Playground explores the abstract concrete playgrounds that were designed as part of post-war housing estates in the mid-twentieth century. Post-war playgrounds were often made from concrete, cast into sculptural forms, which presented a distinct move away from previous playground design. They were envisaged as a key aspect of the estate layout and design and as such reflect prevailing and social theories and concerns at that time. The original installation drew from a number of London estates: Churchill Gardens, Pimlico; the Brunel Estate, Paddington and the Brownfield Estate, Poplar.
In 2016 it toured to Peacock Visual Arts, Aberdeen and also S1 Artspace, Sheffield where new elements were added to the originally commissioned works at each venue, drawing from Seamount Court in Aberdeen and the Park Hill Estate in Sheffield respectively.
Assemble and Simon Terrill used photographs and archival material in the RIBA's Collections, to recreate play structures cladded in reconstituted foam, creating an interactive playground where the viewer becomes participant and in this way completes the work while offering a renewed understanding and critique of the architects' original designs and intentions. Archive images of the original playgrounds are projected on the walls.
The Brutalist Playground toured to the Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany from 14 January to 30 April 2017.
The Edge Gallery, at the University of Bath, is the latest iteration of The Brutalist Playground tour taking place during the University's 50th Anniversary year. This is the first of two exhibitions acknowledging the concrete origins of Bath’s 1960s campus which went on to incorporate buildings designed by celebrated architects of the era including proponents of British Brutalism Alison and Peter Smithson.
Please note The Edge Gallery recommend booking ahead of time to guarantee entry to this free and very popular exhibition.
Previous exhibition tour venues:
Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany / 14 January to 30 April 2017
S1 Artspace, Sheffield, UK / 18 June to 18 September 2016
Peacock Visual Arts, Aberdeen, UK / 28 April to 29 May 2016
The Architecture Gallery, RIBA, London, UK / 10 June to 16 August 2015