Opening today at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), The Brutalist Playground is the latest work by Turner Prize nominees Assemble (a young design collective from London), with artist Simon Terrill. An interactive exhibition, which aims to bring back to life the abstract, concrete playgrounds that were designed as part of the post-war housing estates in the mid-twentieth century, it is part of the ongoing London Festival of Architecture.

Celebrating a generation of spaces – many of which have since disappeared or are no longer considered safe to play on – the show is part-sculpture, part-architectural installation, with visitors invited to come and play ‘the brutalist way’ (though now on reconstituted foam…).

Artist Simon Terrill explains: “The original playgrounds evoke a disappearing world of concrete mazes and windswept walkways. Like a Brechtian stage set rendered in concrete, they speak to a time before soft play and highly regulated public space. The recreation of these forms is a kind of inverted hyper-Brutalism. Playable structures reveling in the sharp edged bush hammered concrete forms they reference. The surreal edges of the Brutalist aesthetic are seen here in the form of the playground.”

The exhibition runs from Wednesday 10 June until 16 August at RIBA, Portland Place, London W1


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By , 4th February 2021
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