A new adventure play building for Islington Council that will support and encourage free play for children from within the Borough. Longlisted for the RIBA MacEwen Award 2024

A new adventure play building for Islington Council that will support and encourage free play for children from within the Borough. Longlisted for the RIBA MacEwen Award 2024

We have designed a new building for Islington Council at the Martin Luther King Adventure Playground in North London. The new building will provide play services and support open-access play opportunities for local children aged six years and upward.

Named after the famous civil rights activist, the playground opened its gates in 1968, having been part-funded using grant money from the Martin Luther King Foundation. Since 2013, the site has been operated by Islington Play Association, a not-for-profit organisation committed to improving children’s lives and life chances through free play.

As part of the design process, we organised regular online and in-person workshops with various stakeholders, including play workers, local residents, ward councillors, and most importantly, local school children who would be using the new building once complete. This stakeholder engagement and involvement in the decision-making process is manifested in key design decisions and has reinforced a positive relationship between the new building and its users.

The form of the building is simple, with a covered terrace providing a sheltered transitional play space that wraps around the building, linking the toilets and kitchen, which can be securely accessed even when the main building is closed. The building is fully accessible and caters for all user groups and ages.

Organised around a central play space, the layout prioritises safeguarding by ensuring views across internal and external play areas can always be maintained. Externally, a colourful red palette of materials, including corrugated sheet metal and cement board panels, provides a robust envelope that can be easily maintained and repaired when required.

As part of LBI’s commitment to becoming a net-zero borough by 2030, the new building has been designed to meet BREEAM Excellent standards with a highly insulated envelope, solar PVs and air source heat pumps helping to minimise the building’s operational carbon footprint and keep energy bills as low as possible.

Location - London, N7
Budget - £345,000.00
Status - Completed
Services - RIBA Stages 1-6
Project Lead - Cristina Serrano

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