The Brutalist Playground, RIBA


Terrill, S. and Assemble (2015). The Brutalist Playground, RIBA . Vitra Design Museum 14 Jan - 30 Apr 2017
CreatorsTerrill, S. and Assemble

The Brutalist Playground at the Royal Institute of British Architects by Turner Prize nominees Assemble and artist Simon Terrill.

The RIBA presents The Brutalist Playground - an exhibition that is part sculpture, part architectural installation, which invites people of all ages to come and play, the Brutalist way. Occupying the entire Architecture Gallery, the immersive landscape is a new commission by Turner Prize nominated design and architecture collective Assemble and artist Simon Terrill. It explores the abstract concrete playgrounds that were designed as part of post-war housing estates in the mid-twentieth century, but which no longer exist. They became playgrounds unsuitable for play.

The exhibition draws on features from a number of London estates including Churchill Gardens, Pimlico; the Brunel Estate, Paddington and the Brownfield Estate in Poplar. The playgrounds were often made from concrete, cast into sculptural forms, which presented a distinct move away from previous playground design. They were envisaged as a key aspect of the estate layout and design and as such reflect the preoccupations and social theories of society at that time.

Assemble and Simon Terrill have drawn inspiration from photographs and visual material in the RIBA's collections, documenting the playgrounds when they were newly built and in use. The exhibition installation will recreate visual elements from the playgrounds in reconstituted foam, creating an interactive, contemporary space where the viewer becomes participant and in this way completes the work. Archive images of the original playgrounds will be projected on the walls.

*Summer Talks and Events Programme (see catalogue attached)

*Rise and Fall of the Council Estate: Panel debate
Tuesday 23 June, 7pm – 8.40pm, RIBA, 66 Portland Place

Discussion chaired by Daisy Froud with Finn Williams (Common office), Andrea Klettner (Love London Council Housing), Simon Terrill (Artist, Brutalist Playground & Balfron Project), Tony McGuirk (Architect/urban designer & Former Chairman of BDP) and Paul Karakusevic (Director of Karakusevic-Carson Architects).
- Part of a season of talks and events inspired by 'The Brutalist Playground.

*Selected Press:

Guardian: Britain's brutalist playgrounds – in pictures


The Architects Journal



BBC Arts

BBC London 94.9 The Robert Elms Show

It's Nice That

Monocle Radio: Interview with Simon Terrill

We Heart

KeywordsArchitecture; Play; Brutalism; Sculpture
Date05 Jun 2015
Web address (URL)
All rights reserved
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Funder/ClientArts Council England
Publication process dates
Deposited21 May 2020
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