Inclusive Park El Laurel
- The whole area is resolved in slopes between 1%-4% without kerbs or levels which would impede accessibility in the most unfavourable case of people in wheelchair.
- The natural character of the vegetation predominates and the urban design has been adapted to this landscaped environment in an accessible way through paths and spaces created between large trees.
- An area for children aged 0-3 years is separated from an area for children aged + 3 years, which offers an adapted and safe space for the youngest children.
- There are two large areas linked to the entrances of the park, with tables that offer a play area as well as a place for adults to stay, so that they can be strategic points of control of the furtive exit of any child.
- A space of great fun has been designed and this implies taking the play space to the limit for a child in some items, because it’s in this way that child enjoys. TChildren find excitement in game that involves challenge and constant improvement. Although everything is within a framework of mandatory safety, they want to highlight this aspect of fun since there are many play spaces that lose all their charm when they are treated from an accessible point of view since levels, balance games, swing, etc. are removed. In this project they want to show that it is possible to make an exciting park as well as accessible and inclusive.
- They have motivated the role of the ground itself as the main element of free play. To that end, topographical elevations of different heights have been provided according to the degree of physical difficulty that each child may have. A playground for all children implies children with full faculties and others with special needs that can be worked on and improved. In addition, free space is a major part for collective games such as hide-and-seek and many others that are becoming more and more difficult to play in most playgrounds due to lack of space.
- All play equipment can be used at the same time by several children. This is very important because there are physical or cognitive difficulties in which a child needs help to use a play unit, and it is essential that he/she can do so together with other children. Therefore the slides are 1 m wide for simultaneous use, the swing is ‘nest’ type for several children at the same time and so forth as a yardstick for all play equipment.
- There are shelters in small forest huts with a mesh that allow children with muscle tone difficulties to lie down. In other words, like with other play equipment, the child can access with help and be accompanied to use the equipment because the playground equipment allows it.
- There is no element that encourages individuality of play.
- Similarly all equipment have a sign with specific inclusive symbology to describe its use.
Smell & Sound:
- The park has aromatic plants which are identified with signs in cognitively recognisable symbology suitable for easy visual comprehension as well as written in Braille.
- There are sensory stimulation devices. Some of them emit a sound connected with movement. Others allow to communicate through steel tubes.
- The location of the park offers a safe environment without motor vehicles. This involves less environmental noise, a benefit for children for whom excessive noise may be a problem.
- In addition to noise pollution, it is often found that there is an excess of strident colours in playgrounds which can confuse the interpretation of a space for certain children with cognitive difficulties. Therefore, some measures have been taken in this regard.
- The play equipment is made of wood and stainless steel in order to adapt to the natural environment of the playground.
- The flooring is defined by earthy colors so that it can blend in with the environment.
- Colours are proposed to represent on the ground information for the children. In this way one colour can mark the play area for older children and another one the relax area. The purpose is that a colour has a specific meaning that can help the children to interpret their surroundings.
- A cognitive line is drawn on the ground as a texture to guide visually impaired users around the playground.
- Some games include texture and volumes as part of the entertainment.
Design: Jiménez Bazán Arquitectos SLP
Project Location: Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Typology: Public park / playground
Area: 5.870 m2
Collaborators: Efren López Ramos (Architect) / Francisco Javier Avila Miranda (Engineer)
Construction: Zona Verde Garden Center SL
Client: Consorcio del Puerto de la Cruz
Photo credits: © Roberto Bazán López
Jiménez Bazán Arquitectos
Jiménez Bazán Arquitectos SLP was founded in 2008 by urban architects Leticia Jiménez Madera and Roberto Bazán López. From their studio in Tenerife, Canary Islands, they carry out architecture, landscape and urban planning projects. The bases of their work are simplicity and efficiency, seeking from the beginning of the project the best results in the functional, construction, energy and economic aspects. This idea is preserved throughout the work path up to its construction, with the commitment, rigor and intensity necessary to responsibly assume the task of designing and building works that are coherent in the place and in the social context of each moment. The goal is to find beauty in the simplest way, by overcoming the complexity of the process.