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Belleville Playground


Belleville playground is on the hill of Parc de Belleville in the 20e arron-
dissement of Paris. A vineyard at the top of the park overlooking Paris
grows vines from Burgundy and Champagne. There's a waterfall fountain
and a meandering path to a lawn for soaking in the sun. There’s also an
open-air theatre and ping pong tables. But the real highlight is the wooden
playground which does an unusual and intelligent play on risk. The arch-
itects of the playground, BASE describe their project:

Free-flowing and powerful, the imagination of a child does not need deter-
minate symbols and play objects to thrive. The design for the playground
is inspired by a structure that we have all played in, a game as spontaneous
as it is timeless, taking on multiple forms and played in groups by children
of all ages: the playhouse. The playhouse can take on many forms: tree-
house, cave, cabin, etc. There is also an urban version, built inside and
which works just as well, meant for rainy days, sleepovers and lazy Sunday
afternoons. It is built from scratch from couch pillows, or by propping a
mattress along the bed frame, or with a chair, broom sticks and stretched
bath towels . It can be a boat, a tent or a medieval castle, it suits all inter-
pretations and abstractions: it is intelligent and provides a blank canvas for
the imagination. With this in mind, the resulting form of the playground
overlays many familiar landscape types, evoked through abstracted forms
that recall a mountain landscape, construction site, flying carpet, ramparts
and medieval fortifications, pirate ship scuppers, etc. Located on a steeply-
sloped site, the playground area is a climbing course with different inclin-
ations for different levels of difficulty and different age groups. Open since
2008, there have been no reports of injury despite its challenging nature,
with record-breaking numbers of children playing here since its realization.

Photos from BASE 


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