Last summer saw the completion of the 747 House, a villa for the jet age in every sense. With a floating curved roof comprised of a pair of recycled airplane wings, the house has all of the angular geometries and sweeping, gestural forms characteristic of the Californian expressionism found in Googie architecture of mid-century America, but without any of the crassness that came to color the movement. The architects were able to achieve a coherent aesthetic and model that fully incorporates the recycled materials, allowing them to inform the entire design at every step, from conception on through detailing. Following that example, 2012Architecten have designed a playground using only discarded wind turbine blades. Sounds dangerous...and awesome.
When first looking at photos of the Wikado Playground in Rotterdam, however, the park seems little more than a haphazard arrangement of turbine debris. To fully appreciate the architect's intervention, you have to burrow into the bellies of the blades, where you'll find children gleefully tunneling from one end to the other. Five rotor blades are secured to the ground, forming a maze-like space around a panna court. Steel appendages converted to miniature lookout towers are placed at the corners, while a net is cast between them, creating a recreational pit and climbing structure that also catches runaway balls from straying into nearby gardens. The sides of the blades double as ramps or seating. The new playground was part of the renovation of the Kinderparadijs Meidoorn, which had been in a desperate need of rehaul for several years.