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Fun (small) project: Gridgrounds

Openfabric, Dmau

In the series of fun (small) projects from the ArchiNed e-mail inbox: Gridgrounds by Openfabric and Dmau.

photo Jacopo Gennari Feslikenian

What?
Het Breed is a modernist neighbourhood defined by rational residential blocks, five stories high with ‘streets in the sky’, located in Amsterdam North, and designed by the architect Frans Van Gool in 1963.
Gridgrounds is an elongated public square of 88m x 17 metres, that stretches across the central space so that all paths converge here and define a new centre for the neighbourhood. The asphalt square is based on the original neighbourhood grid, and the grid is rendered visual and tangible by white lines that extend through the space. At the points of the grid we placed different play elements inspired by the modernist playgrounds by Aldo van Eyck in Amsterdam. The square is framed by a grid of plane trees and grass and planting along its sides. The rectilinear form is punctured at three points by two green circles (active play space developed with local schools, and passive green space that acts as a sustainable drainage point) and a rectangular multipurpose sports court.

photo Jacopo Gennari Feslikenian

Where?
Het Breed, Amsterdam

Why?
To create coherence, all objects are painted Breedveld orange and blue, two colours that have been used in a recent renovation of the adjacent buildings. Through the cohesion of colour, each object achieves a new identity, independent works that collectively form an open-air museum of play elements.
The austerity and monotony of the context is broken by the new playscape, while employing the same elements and layout of the Van Gool plan.

When?
Completed: 2017

Notable
Given the very limited budget (€ 300.000,-), we chose to focus on making a well-functioning public space, a meeting point for all residents at the centre of the neighbourhood. The careful placement of the elements creates different gathering points for groups big or small. Our material palette draws inspiration from road infrastructure, considerably cheaper than usual open-space design materials, asphalt surfaces, white road marking lines, and ‘traffic orange’ (Ral 2009) and ‘traffic blue’ (Ral 5017) colours. Colourful landmarks make the space identifiable from a distance, an important factor in children’s spatial awareness.