Posted on September 1, 2021 by Narratologies Team
A secret playground in Acropolis Neighborhood
What are those strange, small-scale constructions of pure geometry we find in our way when crossing Kallisperi, Mitsaion, and Caryatidon str.? Looks like a playground, right beneath the Acropolis rock. Mini slopes, ropes, knots, metal funnels, flourished benches…We introduce you to the Six Voids! The pioneer of playgrounds in Athens!
The metal and concrete elements you find all-around -along with some others of soft materials and friendly textures- are a playful interpretation of what playing feels like. The organic form of the playground’s equipment makes it so attractive you want to get up on it, move on and off, wander, lay -that’s the feeling, even if you are not a child!!
The abstract shape operates as an open call for children’s imagination to occupy the whole place and make surreal use scenarios for the equipment. There is no right or wrong way to play, there are no specific descriptions for the elements’ use. That’s the spirit behind the design! The organic form plus a touch of abstraction was chosen as the most appropriate to deliver the message to the children: no manual for playing! You are free to do whatever you like with these things! The free space around the elements, the unusual benches and the flower beds complete the scenery. These, too, are made to enhance the playing experience.
More space to flourish
The place gives endless possibilities in any aspect of playing. Children have the choice of an active game: there is a lot of free space to run, play and chase. There are even more possibilities open for hide and seek around the equipment and the yard between them. Otherwise, they can use any feature given and transform it into a house, school, shop, or any other prop needed in their game! Following their own amazing process, children compose parts and stories, leaving them only when they are ready for the next one. In this wonderful procedure, freedom of thought is essential and plenty of stimuli helps a lot. The Six Voids offer them both! Even the name alone is stimulation of curiosity, not only for a child but also for a grown-up. It makes you rethink the meaning of void.
One more plus
Talking about grown-ups, they are definitely not excluded from the playground. On the contrary, the whole scenery encourages them to be present as a good company for their children. Or, to observe them from a distance sitting on a bench. They have plenty of time to read a book, or even chit-chat with other parents and the neighbors living nearby. In any case, the playground creation was an attempt to fill the lack of free, public space the residents experience when living in the center of Athens. When raising children, this experience becomes the main difficulty in everyday life. The implementation of projects like this is a huge support to the residents whether they have family or not, as the place is free to access.
The playground is an open space -no prerequisites to visit. Not even accompanying a child! You can just go there to make plans, relax on the benches or under the trees, and daydream. Especially in the morning, when the main users are at school. After all, this is what its design aims for! Offering inspiration! Being there is a real boost to alternative thinking, something to do in your day out of the ordinary.
The concept of this very special playground belongs to a team named “For example” («Παραδείγματος χάριν»). Its goal is to make proposals to enhance residents’ everyday life in the city in a sustainable way. The architectural design of the space and all elements is by Buerger Katsota architects, and it has been created with the support and the funds of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.