"JUEGA EN LA COLINA VERDE"
"JUGA A LA PEDRA VERDA"
"PLAY ON THE GREEN HILL"
'Play on the Green Hill' is the first of the five Episodes that take place nearby the old- green stream, in the area of Pefka, Municipality Neapoli- Sykies in the city of Thessaloniki, in Greece. These areas were designed in order to provide space to children's safe and creative play, enhancing green and strengthening ecological consciousness, and collectivity. The design principles were set to compose the landscape architectural approach, along with educational and ecological characteristics.
‘Play on the Green Hill' is a playground and two free green spaces connected naturally and perceptively through perimetric pedestrian routes, creating a grid of urban sites, a core of collectivity in the neighborhood. Through the design, the hidden potential of the site was transformed into a creative place for play, recreation and meditation, with open sights and educational character. This design promotes the learning of concepts such as space, volume, perspective, altitudes, shapes, straight - path, point - stop, orientation, proportions and colors, contributing to the development of spatial thinking.
The Playground, ‘Play on the Green Hill’ consists of three separate levels - locations and two transition zones, depending on the age group that each one addresses to. At the first level (higher level), addressed to school children, an informal amphitheater is formed, utilizing the existing slope, consisting of three rows of elevations, made of concrete in the green. Among the trenches, the existing trees were maintained and strengthened, creating a shady and protected area from the wind and the noise. The elevators function as sitting rooms, but at the same time they host spontaneous activities (performances, projections, cultural and educational events). Cast-iron toys are placed on molded floor with shapes and bold colors. In an open view, a wooden gazebo with living rooms is placed, which offers protection from the weather, while ensuring that the attendants have visual contact with both the play areas and the entrances to the playground.
The transition from the first level to the second is accomplished in a fun and adventurous way, with two slides, on the green slope and with cylindrical steps of rubber, "planted" on the pavements. On the second level (middle level), a transition zone is formed with reference to the traditional games of the past, such as hopscotch and tic-tac-toe. The second and third levels are connected to a sloping access level and a retaining wall, which acts as a climbing toy.
At the third level (lower level), playground’s equipment for toddlers is installed and a free play area is created, with natural turf ground cover and trees. Perametrically, staging points are formed with standard design benches (with a built-in surface for writing or reading, designed for the particular project, known as “to-know-us-better”) and vegetation bands (shrub and tree plant species) are created.
The game 'diffuses' in the adjacent open spaces, with ecological coating material (stabilized ceramic flooring) and jets of water that 'spout' through granite blocks. Small locations are designed for adolescents and adults with outdoor exercise equipment. Alternative paths of movement through different spatial stimuli and games create a dynamic evolving space within nature, full of challenges for imaginative play (fantasy). Thus, a living and pleasant place is developed, inviting and connecting the neighborhood, promoting the diffusion of knowledge and experience through coexistence of different age groups.