Meet our lovely collaborators - Friends of Beech Road Park Chorlton!
Friends of Beech Road Park is a community-led group of like-minded residents living in Chorlton who are passionate about and recognises the importance of green spaces access for everyone, especially in current times with the COVID lockdown. They play an active role in managing and maintaining the park, as well as plan events such as the recent Beech Road Park Mosaic, a home-based art project which is in partnership with Unity Arts, to foster a strong community spirit, not letting the lockdown hinder their enthusiasm.
Our main contact working alongside us is MSA’s own Laura Sanderson, a senior lecturer and a familiar face for those in the Continuity in Architecture atelier. Other Friends look forward to joining us periodically through MSA Live to participate and view our projects.
All of us here and our Friends cannot wait to meet everyone, and see all our creative ideas for unique play spaces for the kids in Chorlton and elevate the already important Beech Road Park to the next level for this tightly knit community!
Our social agenda is all about utilising our creativity to add further value to rejuvenate play areas and reinvent the entire concept of play so that it mirrors that of a child's imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. We are aware of Chorlton’s tight knit community so we would personify that image in a safe yet playful environment. It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the community around them, and we have been given this special opportunity to enhance this experience for them.
By looking at ‘play’, we would be discussing, collaborating and designing four themes that revolve around nature, inclusivity, adaptability and sustainability. These concepts would be developed into play areas, tailored for the users of Beech Road Park.
Posted 28 Feb 2021 15:47
Throughout the 2 weeks of MSA Live, we are looking to introduce some new skills to our students as well as improving on existing ones. Technical knowledge such as software skills will be one of our focus, but we believe there is also a huge advantage in improving soft skills such as group collaboration as well as presentation skills that can often be overlooked.
As such, we will create a safe and conducive environment for students to feel more confident during presentations as well as group sessions while gathering tips and constructive feedback for everyone to improve.
For software skills, workshops will be conducted to improve workflow as well as introduce some new programmes. QnA sessions are an integral part of these workshop and will be invaluable for students to ask anything in order to further familiarise themselves.
Softwares in the workshop include:
Posted 28 Feb 2021 15:48
Hi there! My name is Danial. I grew up in Brunei and Singapore and graduated from the University of Nottingham where I found a guilty love for concrete, I love the look but we can’t have a future together.
Fun fact: When I pass by a park, I secretly want to play on the swing but I scared of being judged.
Posted 1 Mar 2021 13:16
Hi everyone, I'm Sookie. I am from Singapore but I did my undergrad in the Welsh School of Architecture where I developed an appreciation and curiousity for smaller scaled architectural projects, which is ironic since I come from a country that is basically a city-state with no space for small scaled projects.
Fun fact: My family lost me at when I was 4-5 years old because I was too busy staring at concrete drying.
Posted 1 Mar 2021 13:16
Hello everyone, my name is Yanran, I’m from China and graduated from an unknown university. When I was a kid, I used to play a game called "Roller Coaster Tycoon" day and night, so I developed a love for architecture. Besides, I like drawing since I was young.
Fun fact: I also like to play childish games and even enjoy watching cartoons. I'm recently addicted to "My Little Pony" and I love Pinkie Pie!
Posted 1 Mar 2021 13:17
Hi guys! My name is Premdyl. I grew up on the sunny island of Penang, Malaysia and graduated from the Taylor’s University. During my time in Penang, I found a strong passion for conservation and adaptive reuse due to the city’s influence after being awarded as an UNESCO Heritage Site.
Fun fact: My favourite show to watch is Avatar: The Last Airbender. Wtihout a doubt, if I had a choice I would want to be a waterbender.
Posted 1 Mar 2021 13:17
Hi, my name is Zhuo Ping from China, graduated from University of Liverpool. During my undergraduate study, I realized that I was obsessed with model making and laser cutting. My internship participated in the design and construction of the kindergarten, what interests me more is to design playground for children rather than classroom.
Fun Fact: I was trying to climb the tower cranes with my bare hands when I was a child, I was about to reach the top, a worker called the police.
Posted 1 Mar 2021 16:05
Hello guys! My name is Hsuan-Fang. I’m from Taiwan where Bubble tea originated and became popular but I’m a big fan of lattes. I graduated from the Tamkang University where I was inspired to research the details and construction of architecture.
Fun fact: My parents let me watch “Bob the Builder” everyday when I was a kid. Is this related to my decision to study in Architecture, no one knows.
Posted 1 Mar 2021 16:06
Hi everyone! Thank you for picking this MSA Live group, we are all very excited to have you on board. Today we’ll be exploring a child’s imagination. Our lovely partners gave a plan of the park to the kids and let them draw what they want in their playspaces and today we’d like to share them (Actually these drawings were also incorporated in our poster!)
Posted 5 Apr 2021 16:29
Hello again everyone! Following on from the previous post, here’s another example of a child’s imagination. We are in the midst of organising a day in which children could potentially come in to one of our days of design development so that we can gather their input and perspective.
Maybe they could see us bring these animals to life in an Architectural way, be creative!
Posted 5 Apr 2021 16:30
Just for laughs, here is the final drawing we’ll be sharing.
Some kids imagine the world, some just want food.
Everyone loves pizza and I am sure we are behind this proposal!
Posted 5 Apr 2021 16:31
Guest Lecture Series
For our first instalment of our Guest Lectures, we are proud to have Caukin Studios!
Caukin is a progressive international studio who believes in the impact and benefits that architecture brings to a close knitted community. They focus on self-built, low impact architecture that allows everyone access to high quality design - This is pertinent for Beech Road as our conversations with our partners have revealed that residents have a community spirit and culture that can lend itself well for self-built projects.
Caukin has successfully incorporated their ethos with play projects such as Playscape in Koh Rong Island and Playvillion in Cipanas. You can check them out at https://www.caukinstudio.com/projects
Posted 15 Apr 2021 09:24
Guest Lecture Series
We are pleased to announce a series of Guest Lectures from curated offices all over the world to educate and inspire everyone on play spaces.
Starting off strong we have award-winning Erect Architects. Based in London, have been engaged to design a large amount of creative play spaces. Their projects cleverly utilises landscapes and creates an immersive environment for children within nature.
We’re back again! Hope everyone is having a lovely day.
We cannot be more excited to introduce another speaker in our Guest Lecture Series - the Chinese firm Atelier Scale. They are predominantly a landscape architecture studio, but are open to commercial public projects as well.
We believe their ethos of not limiting themselves to strictly landscape projects and taking on a multi-perspective involvement of their team has produced multitudes of creative design work that we can take inspiration from.
For our final speaker for our Guest Lectures, we are elated to present 100Architects.
100Architects primarily works on public and street architecture internationally. They have the fundamental belief that ‘play is the purest form of creativity’ and ‘imagine cities as playgrounds for citizens’.
Who better to inspire us on Playscapes?
Their oeuvre features a myriad of urban projects that are inherently playful and we highly encourage everyone to check them out and be inspired! Some that caught our eye are Pegasus Trail and Pixeland. Feel free to check them out at https://100architects.com/projects/
Posted 24 Apr 2021 09:54
Week 1: Playscapes Introduction
For the first week, we will be focus predominantly on understanding different types of playscape and finding inspiration in relation to our selected themes. Specially curated guest speakers are coming to help us on this journey. We are also organising basic skill workshops in programmes such as Sketchup and Rhino to help support our ideas and form making. Be as imaginative and creative as the kids we are designing for!
Posted 6 May 2021 10:59
Week 2: Detailed Design
This week we will put on our architect’s hat and refine our designs. This means plans, sections, renders, thinking ergonomically! Our partners, Friends of Beech Road, will be joining us throughout this week to check our progress and give their thoughts feedback along the way. We will end off this week with our publications and a virtual exhibition with our partners!
Posted 6 May 2021 10:59
For our first guest lecture we welcome Barbara Kauckey to our MSA live Project, she is a founding director of Erect Architecture, a RIBA chartered practice. She presented one of her projects, ‘Holland Park Adventure Playground’, in Kensington and Chelsea and how she developed the project to be more interactive and engaging through alternative means to a traditional park. Holland Park Adventure Playground is distinct from other parks due to their bespoke artefacts made from natural materials for play, and designed for a range of activities. The designers have also redesigned the topography of the site for other features for more spaces of play such as terraces and play valleys.
Posted 10 May 2021 17:01
We are pleased to welcome Atelier Scale from China. Their focus is on the relationship between the macro and the micro in the landscape. Our guest speaker, Mr. Zhong, is the founding partner and design director of Atelier Scale. From all projects presented, ‘Tetris Square’ in Guangzhou provides a unified landscape framework but creates flexibility and interaction with communities on a small scale. ‘The Fold’ inspires us to encourage children to define their own playground through unique experiences. The designer proposed the idea "Playground as a place".
Posted 11 May 2021 16:54
Today we held workshop lectures for AutoCAD, Rhino and Sketchup. We introduced basic skills in order to communicate and transfer work among each other for collaboration between groups. We have demonstrated commands and operations to produce basic readable plans and exporting them with detail to scale. Rhino and Sketchup has been specifically chosen as software that we think will be most suitable to model organic and free forms for park equipment. We also want to make sure that students are not limited by their ability so that they have as much freedom to produce their own bespoke playground artefacts and translate the imagination of what playscapes can be into 3D modeling and presentation.
Posted 11 May 2021 16:55
We were extremely excited to host Caukin Studios as one of our guest lectures today!
Caukin Studios presented their projects Playscape Koh Long,Slinky and Playdium. All these projects perfectly exemplifies their ethos of democratic education and quality design that are accessible for all.
Their presentation demonstrated to all of us how architecture can add value and bring a community together. It also teaches us to never be restricted by ‘low tech’ construction methods and recycled material as they can still lead to powerful and meaningful architecture when driven by passion and creativity.
A big thank you to Harrison and Joshua for taking time out to join us.
Posted 12 May 2021 09:26
For our final guest lecture we welcome Javier Gonzalez to our MSA live Project, he is a partner and director of 100Architects, an international practice that specialises in Street Architecture and Public Realm Design . He presented many of their projects including Creek Play in Dubai, Starfish Hub in Abu Dhabi and High Loop in Shanghai. Javier explained to us the ‘recipe’ of creating hyper stimulating play areas that accommodate for both children and adults. As an alternative mean to a traditional park, he mentions that contrast in context, aesthetic independence, controversial design, instant function, fostering interactions and surprises create successful playgrounds for all. The designers of 100Architects uses colours and shapes to create outstanding playscapes all over the world!
Posted 12 May 2021 15:24
‘Post-Ideation Sketch’ is the significant design process where designers generate a large quantity of ideas through sketching and brainstorming. This activity aims to help students in BA Year 1 and Year 2 facilitate thinking and order their thoughts after guest lectures. There are no restrictions about painting tools and layout. Each drawing was under 25 minutes limit. The above collage shows the learning results of each student from Day 1 to Day 3. The process will direct them to uncover innovations in the following MSA LIVE days.
Posted 13 May 2021 09:21
By splitting ourselves into two groups, we were able to undergo a fully ‘virtual’ site analysis of Beech Road Park in Chorlton. Thanks to our collaborator, Laura Sanderson from Friends of Beech Road, we were able to see a walk-through video of the entire site. By using online resources, we were able to gather enough data to understand the tangible needs of the site’s future playscape. For the community wants, interviews between the MA students and the client were conducted before-hand. This information was then relayed to our BA students for their knowledge.
Posted 14 May 2021 10:09
To get a better understanding of existing playscape interventions we dived into looking at existing precedents: learning more about its response to site, materiality, form, colour, interactivity and SWOT analysis. These have helped to develop and further understand our ideas for our proposal designs for Beech Road Park that’s best suited for the community of Chorlton.
By using our online Miro Board, we were able to see, analyse and present to each other playscapes from all over the world; ranging from local play areas built here in Manchester to huge landscape projects located internationally such as in Taichung, Taiwan.
Posted 14 May 2021 10:09
We were beyond elated today to host our collaborators, Laura Sanderson on behalf of Friends of Beech Road Park Chorlton , Colette from Unity Arts and our guest Kevin from Manchester City Council.
All three of them were extremely excited and welcoming of our creative schemes and supported us with a plethora of feedback and concerns such as lighting, materiality and security that will no doubt help push our designs to the next level!
We are grateful to Laura, Colette and Kevin for taking the time out to meet with us and are extremely thankful that they kept an open mind and encouraged us to take risks with our designs while striking a balance with practicality. Really excited to see where we go from here!
Posted 14 May 2021 17:39
As our thematic groups develop their schemes inspired by the guest lectures and their precedence’s, we have invited the clients and consultants to present the direction of our project as well as for their comments. The presentations consisted of drawings and 3D models of our ideas to show off some of the exciting concepts that the undergraduate students have been able to come up with. Through having a conversation with the clients and consultant, we have received several comments on how to move forward and improve our design to be closer to something that can be realised.
Posted 15 May 2021 11:48
What has group 'terrain' been upto today?
"After our meeting with the clients, our groups have developed our concepts further to respond to their comments. As we do so, the progression of the project allows them to be closer to being realised. As the first day of the new week, we have also introduced the publication in detail so we are able to plan the content of the pages. Today, we have also started to produce drawings, diagrams and models so that we are able to communicate our concepts to the clients so that they are fully aware of our aims."
Posted 17 May 2021 17:27
What has group ‘community built’ been upto today?
"By finalising our concepts the day before, it was time to make it a reality! By drawing it on AutoCAD we were able to identify potential weaknesses and strengths of our scheme in a more feasible and recognisable way. By drawing to scale, the drawing guided us into make informed decisions about site responses and zoning that creates high areas of interactivity. Including our concepts, we took into account of our client’s comments, thus directing our iteration of the play area to be more inclusive in user groups and the arts.”
Posted 18 May 2021 16:39
What has the 'modularity' group doing today?
"After a few days of strategic and planning design, we were able to build a 3D model on SketchUp, which, although it will consume a lot of time, will help us to quickly recognise and understand what our design will look like in reality, while being able to contribute significantly to later section drawings, floor plans and renderings. We are also continuing our research into materials and lighting."
Posted 19 May 2021 16:46
What has the 'sensory' group doing today?
"In the final phase of MSA LIVE, we are preparing tomorrow's presentation for the community. By utilizing the MIRO board, we organised our conceptual and architectural drawings, which were created and drawn from the first day to ensure that the layout of the publication is reasonable and persuasive. We are looking forward to presenting our playground project - Sensescape."
Posted 20 May 2021 17:18
Preparing for the Big Day
Our beloved BA students have been excellent to work with so far, and a complete godsent in pushing the creativity of our projects! Today we as the MArch students were trying our best to refine the layout of our publications that consist of all the wonderful ideas and alluring imagery done by our BA students. Keeping to the template provided by the school, we learnt how to prioritise certain images that showcase our main ideas better, although the images were so well done by the BA students that they didn’t make this an easy job!
We cannot wait to show our partner Friends of Beech Road Park our publication in our presentation tomorrow.
Posted 21 May 2021 17:29
Today was our big day! We were delighted to have our guests from Friends of Beech Road and Unity Arts, Laura Sanderson, Richard and Colette. Kevin from Manchester City Council unfortunately could not join us but his feedback from our earlier presentation has really shaped all of our final proposals.
With our 4 themes – Terrain, Community-Built, Sensory and Modularity, we presented 4 unique schemes to our guests. These 4 different approaches have helped the Chorlton community envision a variety of innovating methods for creative playscapes in Beech Road Park through architecture. We hope that there proposals can inspire our partners to develop beach road park as a social centre for their local neighbourhood.
Posted 21 May 2021 17:34
Final Outputs from team 'Terrain'
"In this group, the theme of our play scape is Terrain. Working as a team, we thought about what terrain means for a play scape and how that could drive our design.
The first thing we thought about is the topography. As the existing site is very flat, we thought that manipulating the topography of the park would give opportunities for different types of activities. Changes in levels creates multi-purpose landscape such as hills that children can run up and down or slopes for groups of families and friends to sit together. We also found that designing for different ground surfaces can encourage different types of activities. In our design, we have focused on grass landscaping and engineered timber wood fibre for softer landscaping where we would promote jumping and running. Designing for hard ground surfaces promotes other activities such as ball sports with multi-purpose plastic flooring or skating/scootering with concrete pavements.
As we play with the topography of the park, we also believe that it is important to create a comfortable environment that promotes the neighbourhood to stop by and sit down. Therefore, spaces where we might find people to stay longer are also sheltered by canopies the emerge from the ground."
Posted 21 May 2021 17:37
Final Outputs from team 'Community Built'
"The community built theme is centred around getting pre-existing community groups independent members involved in the creation of the playground to foster an even stronger community spirit. From our research, Chorlton has Unity Arts that is very active within the area. They have numerous partnerships with local artists and conduct art programmes to get local children involved.
This theme seeks to utilise the community and Unity Arts to create Bubble Beech, which is envisioned as an oasis within the Chorlton community that combines their strong appreciation for nature and arts into a creative play area that not only benefits the children but the entire community."
Posted 21 May 2021 17:41
Final Outputs from team 'Sensory'
"Playgrounds are crucial for children’s physical development, mental health, and emotional memories. Increased self-esteem, improved collaboration skills, enhanced critical thinking skills, and a strengthened immune system are just some of the high-level benefits children gain by playing. Therefore, it is our duty as adults to provide all the children inclusive and sensory play areas. A sensory playground is one that contains any element or equipment that stimulates one of the seven senses- touch, smell, taste, sight, hearing, vestibular, and proprioception. Well-designed sensory playscapes encourage children to do more physical activity, enhance social skills, and create a valuable bonding with their parents. Multisensory experiences are vital for motor skills, strength, sensory and cognitive development.
With our proposal of the Sensescape playground on the Beech Road Park, we prioritized providing an exciting multisensory play experience. The initial concept was to divide the play area into overlapping geometrical shapes and assign equipment that stimulates different senses to each area. In terms of colour scheme, we used bright colours derived from a classic kid’s rainbow to stimulate sight while giving a happier and more playful atmosphere."
Posted 21 May 2021 17:44
Final Outputs from team 'Modularity'
"In this group, our manifesto is to let children explore the space themselves, borrowing from the modular design to create pixelated hills and spaces to satisfy their curiosity of a Cube Paradise.
We tried to combine the various functional spaces and design each module in conjunction with the requirements of the regulation. At the same time, we have added a variety of lighting to the paradise, trying to avoid dazzling direct light and to use more reflected light for the ambient lighting at night. At the same time the diversity of the space design is demonstrated by the small semi-open spaces that can be used for hide-and-seek and as mini shops, and the shallow pools that change with the seasons.
We tried to create an infinite transformation with permanent structure, whether its function changing with the seasons, children of different ages or even adults. The function of the space is then redefined according to the different ways of using and playing with it."
Posted 21 May 2021 17:45
It's never easy to say goodbye.
Today marks the final day of MSA Live Event 2021!
It was amazing to work with such an amazing group of students from across all the years. Hopefully we will all get to bump into each other next year once we're back in the building. We were super lucky to meet such talented future 'architects' who were passionate about this project, the community of Chorlton and created astounding playscape iterations!
Cheers and have a good summer!
The Play by the Beech Team
Premdyl, Sookie, Danial, Zhuoping, Hsuan and Yanran.