DULWICH PREP SCHOOL PLAYGROUND
Space and the Future
Dulwich, London, 2018-2019
Over 8 weeks alma-nac led a series of design workshops with year 7 pupils at Dulwich Prep School to re-imagine their lower school playground. Working closely with the head of Design Technology, Melanie Mortimer, alma-nac's primary goal was to create a 'studio' environment within the classroom and give pupils the experience of working collaboratively on a 'live' design project.
The pupils were encouraged to explore new possibilities for the space, working through each stage of the design process to develop a final proposal and present it to their 'client' - the lower school staff and pupils. With firsthand experience of using the playground, the pupils were able to develop their brief and identify the key areas for improvement. This led to research, site analysis, concept drawing and scale model making.
After exploring a number of potential approaches and themes for the playspace, the pupils worked together to define, redefine and settle on the concept of 'Space and the Future'. This included design features such as an air lock gateway, space boundaries, planet surfaces, a mars rover, the milky highway, zero gravity hopscotch, a mural of the cosmos and a football pitch overseen by astronauts in the crowd.
alma-nac supported the pupils throughout the making process and emphasised collaborative working methods. This allowed the pupils to test and discuss ideas as a group whilst considering specific design characteristics of scale, material and spatial logic. These making processes are fundamental to our design approach as a practice and something we were keen to share in the classroom.
The project concluded with a scale model of the final proposal and will undoubtedly inform the schools approach to re-designing their playspaces in the near future. alma-nac continue to work with Dulwich Prep School and have been invited to lead another workshop where pupils will be fabricating full scale 1:1 prototypes.