To capture the Banyan tree’s essence of an interconnected network of air-roots, we stretched a climbing net structure across various tree trunk towers within the play space. The enclosed net structure allows children to safely traverse across the length of the playground area while taking their adventures to new heights. By suspending the net canopy, we created an elevated walkway for children to enjoy a different type of sensory play that encourages exploration and invites curiosity.
Located within the cultural heart of the Malay community, Paya Lebar Quarter is one of Singapore’s newest urban precincts. Nestled inside Paya Lebar Quarter 3, the playground at Parkside springs forth with a design influenced by the history of the locale.
On closer inspection, a large climbing net links the brilliant orange towers together, creating a single, unified play structure. This interlinked design of the playground structure is inspired by the natural form of the Banyan tree. The Banyan tree has a unique characteristic of creating a wide aerial root system that stretches across multiple trees. Because of the tree’s prolific growth, it provides plentiful shade that draws people from all over to gather under its expansive canopy.
|Clients||Lendlease Singapore Pte Ltd|
|Architect||DP Architects Pte Ltd|
Children can access the climbing net canopy through the two tree towers at each end. At one end, a forest of hammock swings provides a tricky ascent requiring a test of balance! On the other, a rubber climbing surface challenges children to scale a vertical wall with multiple holes. We styled the climbing wall in this manner to convey the wildness of the tree’s growth as its aerial roots grow downwards to root into the ground.
We also added a lone tree tower with a lounging net strung across its table structure, to represent how a Banyan tree annexes other host trees. In its wake, the Banyan tree leaves behind a husk of a sturdy tree trunk surrounded by a network of root columns – demonstrated by a standing eggbeater spinner pole, a twisting slide, and the hammock netting descending onto the forest floor.
The playground’s design pays homage to a mature Banyan tree that formerly stood on the edge of the Geylang Canal. For decades, the Banyan tree served as a local landmark, until it had to be removed due to new urban developments.
By designing a playground that uniquely represents the community’s local history, we hope to recapture the social space once represented by the popular Banyan tree that grew within the area – one that inspires the communities at Paya Lebar to gather and play together!