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KHBT Architects wins contest for urban play space in east London

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London and Berlin-based practice KHBT Architects has won a competition to design a multipurpose space for children and adults in Aldgate, east London

The architect saw off competition from nine other companies, including Bell Phillips, Robert Barnes Architects and Featherstone Young, to secure the top spot.

The scheme, backed by Barratt London and set to be completed in late 2017, aims to provide a multifunctional play area for kids and adults alike on the south-east corner of Drum Street.

Large stainless-steel poles will be used to create an enclosed playground – dubbed an ‘urban forest’ – which will include monkey bars, a basketball hoop and a double swing.

Adults will be able to exercise in the space, which also acts as a landscape design, or sit on benches scattered in and around the sculpture.

KHBT partner Karsten Huneck said: ‘The whole idea was to create an area with pockets of play, where you meander through to find these areas of play. The poles are organic shapes, which do different things in themselves and are an element that creates this “urban forest” juxtaposed with real trees.

‘We wanted to think differently; we had a broader definition of the word “play” and we wanted to expand it to include adults.’

In addition, there will be a stage area with tiered benches, as well as ‘gossip’ and ‘kissing’ corners created using enclosed benches. The design also features a number of green spaces.

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