Architect Matthew Springett and educator Fiona MacDonald, who collaborate as Matt & Fiona, have worked with children with autism at a school in London to design and build a sensory playground using blue WISA®-Multiwall donated by Advanced Technical Panels.
Available in numerous colours, WISA-Multiwall is a decorative polypropylene laminate Birch plywood coated on both face and reverse, which is suitable for a wide range of demanding applications.
The Phoenix Playground Room, a structure made from dark blue folded triangles - constructed out of WISA-Multiwall panels – was created at the Phoenix School in east London.
To accommodate the school's increase in size, it is moving site twice in the next two years and familiarity with physical surroundings is very important to the school's students, many of whom are non-verbal and highly sensory.
At the start of the design process, every student in the school was invited to create a possible design for the structure, using triangles – a simple way to make the most of a 4 x 8ft sheet of ply, cut on a diagonal to minimise waste.
A smaller group of students then adopted the role of curators and designers to choose their favourites and a 'paper build' at half scale was produced. This model was then used to construct the actual playground.
"This was a particularly rewarding project. Young people – and even more so young people with learning difficulties – are rarely asked about what they need from their built environment, and yet they are in fact the experts, in particular when it comes to playgrounds," said Fiona MacDonald.
She continued, "The children got to see something imagined and ambitious become a reality in a matter of a few weeks, a hugely empowering experience and we are extremely grateful to Advanced Technical Panels for supporting this initiative,"