When I first saw this blog prompt I thought it read "If you were completely released from the constraints of the 'architecture school' program, what would you do architecturally, artistically, bodily, lyrically, etc. that would still have an impact on THE environment". It actually says "YOUR environment", but since I read it the first way, I started thinking about something I could do to affect the environment. It took some thinking but I finally realized that it would be really cool to make a park that would put kids, AND adults, more in touch with the environment while having fun.
My three inspirations were: a park I read about in Europe, Hyland Park Reserve's Chutes and Ladders park, and Kodomo-no-kuni, a park in Japan.
My first inspiration, the park in Europe, is really vague. In high school I remember reading a fiction book about a girl who lived in Europe who visited a nature preserve or park where she went hiking. The trail was completely open to the public, and had neat obstacle courses and little play areas along the path. Everything was made of wood and was eco-friendly and helped the hikers to feel more in touch with nature while having fun and getting exercise. I don't remember what country this park was in and I don't have the slightest clue about what the book was called, but the description of the park has stuck with me.
My image of the hiking trail+obstacle course
After I began thinking about the European park, I thought about other cool parks I have been to. One that immediately jumped out was one I visited on field trips in Kindergarten and 1st grade. It took a little searching, but I finally remembered it was called Chutes and Ladders, and it is located in the Hyland Lake Preserve in Bloomington. I remember thinking it was the coolest park EVER as a kid because there was so much to do. There were all sorts of pipes and tubes and tires and ropes that you could play on, and it was so big that you almost could get lost in it. I feel like it was all wood and tires and recycled things that made it up, but the photos I found show that it is colorful and plastic now. Maybe they rebuilt it??
Chutes and Ladders
The other cool park I remembered was Kodomo-no-kuni (ã?“ã?©ã‚‚ã?®å›½ï¼‰in Tokyo, Japan. This park is a combination of a small amusement park, camping grounds, petting zoo, ice skating rink, play ground, small farm, and all sorts of other things. I used to go to it every summer when I visited my grandparents in Japan for about 6 weeks. The thing about this park that I liked was that nothing was too organized or clean or set-up. It might sound weird but it was a blast because we could basically do whatever we wanted. Everything was outside and had a kind of 'organic' feeling and you really got dirty and in touch with nature when you played there.
So, after I had gone through this whole thought process I read the blog prompt one more time and realized it said "your environment" instead of just "the environment". But even if it wouldn't affect my environment directly, I would really actually like to build, or at least have, a park that would be fun and put you more in touch with nature around in Minnesota. My ideal would be a mixture of all three of my inspirations: HUGE and unorganized with no one telling you what to do like Kodomo-no-kuni, with lots of things to play with and hide in like Chutes and Ladders, and one with nature like the park in Europe. Actually, if there was a park like this it would affect my environment because I would always be playing in it!