Project Name: Pecka Playscape
Practice: Molo Architekti
Firm Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Completion year: 2018
Gross Built up Area: 1999.20 sqm
Project Location: Sněžkou, Czech Republic
Lead Architects: Matěj Hájek, Tereza Kučerová
Clients: Pec pod Sněžkou Municipality
Contractors: Gardenline, Taros Nova
Collaborators: Taros Nova
Others: Graphic design: Tomski&Polanski
Photo Credits: BoysPlayNiceMore Specs
Excerpt: Molo Architekti designed a few installations for Pecka Playscape. It represents a fusion between a playground, a sculpture park and an educational trail, designed on a monumental scale and set in the midst of the enchanting landscape of Krkonoše National Park.
(“Text as submitted by the Architect”)
Pecka Playscape represents a fusion between a playground, a sculpture park and an educational trail, designed on a monumental scale and set in the midst of the enchanting landscape of Krkonoše National Park.
The Pecka Playscape is a unique set of play elements and installations on the boundary between sculpture and folly located at 1062 meters above sea level. The main impulse that initiated this project was to motivate both parents and children to enjoy the outdoors. To spend time in a forest while breathing fresh mountain air and to encourage them to be in contact with natural materials such as wood, water and stone. We designed all the playscape elements so that they are in harmony with the original landscape while keeping it almost intact.
The installations were inspired by wildlife inhabiting the Krkonoše mountains.
The playscape is thematically divided into the ” world in the trees“ offering a walk along suspension bridges among the nests of black stork. The landscape then transforms into a ” world in a forest” where it is possible to crawl through a giant spindle conch (Cochlodina), giant viper, animal dens or to be a part of a fight between two species of ants and to drop a wooden ball through an anthill labyrinth. There is a giant lynx that lurks at the edge of the forest with an open mouth that could be climbed into and through to its body. On the meadow there is a fallen deer whose antlers and skeleton serve as a look-out tower and also could be used for climbing and sliding. Down on the meadow spring there sits a salamander whose back is a chute for sliding a wooden ball (“pecka”) down to its paws.
From a formal point of view, elements of descriptive nature (e.g. lynx, viper) intertwine with more abstract items (e.g. deer, cochlodina). Each element has its own information panel displaying illustrations featuring educational content. The learning focus of the playscape covers different topics within the disciplines of natural science and physical education.
The diversity in the way the different subjects are represented is paralleled by the varied levels of difficulty of the play elements. The playscape as a whole is a well-considered combination of certified play elements and sculpture installations that complement the character of the local world of wildlife. The designers are thus inviting parents to take part in the play of their offspring. The construction of the different installations is designed with respect to the environment in which they are placed. The choice of materials was guided by the altitude of one thousand meters above sea level and long winter seasons. Last but not least, the natural setting of the site in the protected landscape of Krkonoše National Park had to be taken into careful consideration. The installations are thus qualified as temporary, which is in most cases reflected in their foundations using ground screws.
The prevailing material is larch timber connected with steel elements. Each installation is a kind of prototype. Pecka Playscape is not for wimps. Entering it means stepping into an adventure of your own.
Contractor’s report /Taros Nova/
Building the Pecka Playscape installations called for a close collaboration with the architects as well as for considerable flexibility during implementation. The wildlife installations are sculptures and are therefore extremely demanding in terms of the details which determine their final form. The continuous confrontation of the technical solution with the artistic intention was, in a positive sense, the most demanding experience of the project. Some construction details were modified as the installation proceeded, making it similar to the process of sculpting, looking for a form through the technology of construction.
Sculptures and play elements, all tailor-made:
The installations are made of several types of construction:
1. One type of construction is made of larch poles and squared timber of different profiles without surface treatment, making up a solid spatial structure taking the form of the given sculpture (e.g. the lynx or the den). The construction is founded on ground screws and covered with larch planks of 50 mm without surface treatment. The individual elements of the structure are connected with an atypical S235 steel weldment without surface treatment and secured with stainless steel screws.
2. Another type of construction is a supporting welded steel frame to which elements made of glued or solid larch wood (bodies of ants) are anchored.
4.The deer’s antlers and ribs are composed of three main vertical lattice girders made of glued laminated larch timber. The individual girders are connected with beams, a staircase and platforms. The spaces between the girders and the railing are composed of protective black stainless-steel netting. The antlers are attached to a steel grid made of rolled HEA profiles to which ground screws are anchored.
5. Trail in the trees. This is a series of 7 platforms in the form of stork nests connected by hanging rope bridges. Each platform is placed on a central pillar and anchored with ropes. The platforms are octagonal but from the outside, they resemble stork nests thanks to cladding made of acacia branches with a 50 – 100 mm diameter. The platforms are interconnected with hanging rope bridges so as to form a logical trail. The main load-bearing construction of the platforms consists of steel beams with a surface treatment of hot-dip galvanization. The accessible parts of the construction are composed of pressure impregnated coniferous timber. The railing of the platform is made with a black stainless-steel net.
The deer’s antlers and ribs are composed of three main vertical lattice girders made of glued laminated larch timber. The individual girders are connected with beams, a staircase and platforms. The spaces between the girders and the railing are composed of protective black stainless-steel netting. The antlers are attached to a steel grid made of rolled HEA profiles to which ground screws are anchored.