A Netherland Fairytale Playground

By Adam Figman, Editorial Intern

Designed by Mulders vandenBerk Architecten, a new pavilion has been built not just FOR the local children, but WITH the help of the local children.

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Located in Utrecth, The Netherlands, in the middle of a playground (with facilities for teenagers on one side of the structure, and a playground for young children on the other), each room in the building (pictured below) was inspired by a different fairytale from a different part of the world. Children from the area were interviewed and asked their favorite fairytales, and DesignArbeid graphic design studio drew these stories in a puzzle-like pattern on the structure’s DuPont Corian panels.

The pavilion was designed for children to exercise their minds before or after their physical play on the playground. It’s clear the designers wanted to give the kids an opportunity to spend some adult-free time, but with safety in mind. It was built with glass walls so adults can supervise from the outside without interfering. The furniture inside is all very simple, and the rooms are decorated in a unique way that allows children to stretch their imaginations; in some places they may draw and play games right on the walls.

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On the outside, the pavilion looks very simple and plain. But a closer look, at the fairytale-drawn walls, opportunities for creativity, and safe design, proves architects Joost Mulders and Chris Van den Berk (of Mulders vandenBerk Architecten) had a really strong plan. Pretty impressive, considering the reason they were chosen for the job: “The city council of Utrecht selected us for this project because we had already proven our ability to design a building within a tight deadline,” Van den Berk says in a press release. 

I can think of more than a few city spots where a pavilion like this could work around these parts. Safe to say I’d have preferred one to the sandbox I spent my childhood in.

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