October 16, 2009 at 3:11 pm #172643
Someone forwarded me this webpage, and I thought it was an interesting concept to think about in regards to landscape architecture.
How do we design spaces that motivate people to live healthy lifestyles and make better decisions? I think we do a great job trying to tackle the serious nature of global climate change, loss of biodiversity, and the effects of design on community health (to name a few). But, I wonder if we are missing the opportunity as designers to make “good” choices fun? Curious to hear people’s thoughts on the fun theory and whether they have been able to incorporate it into their work at all. Does anyone have some other good examples of projects that capitalize on the fun theory?October 16, 2009 at 5:01 pm #172655
I love to see this kind of work. It’s the type of thing that makes you stop and think about your everyday surroundings. Park(ing) day is another good example. It makes you become more aware of the world around you.
There is also those groups that do the freeze action in a busy location.October 16, 2009 at 5:03 pm #172654
I just watched the ‘piano stairs’ video the other day on another site and thought,’ this would make a great landscape project.
I think designers tend to take themselves and their work a bit too seriously sometimes. Hyper-intellectualism and complex theories may work well in the studio, but the end product must be tangible and accessible for the average user. I’ve said it before that I think design is moving in the direction of rewarding ‘design for designs sake.’ Projects seem to err on the side of purely aesthetic or purely functional. A professor at CSU told me once to do do what ‘I think would be cool.’
It makes you wonder how many great ideas have been stymied in stuffy conference rooms.October 16, 2009 at 5:42 pm #172653
This ideas are brilliant 🙂
Thanks for shearing
Just wonder how officials would treat it in Ireland. Considered this as play equipment then it would need insurance :), something nobody(exept city councils) wants to do here, because liability. So there was saying that Ireland has more golf courses than playgrounds 🙂
So what we were asked to do by developers was to create “play opportunity areas” – so they don’t have to pay insurance.Our options ware limited, we could do things like grass bumps, timber posts, stepping stones, but thanks God kids imagination is endlesssssssssss, and I’m sure they could imagine it as mountains, castles,rivers and ……………October 16, 2009 at 8:17 pm #172652
It’s a very good topic – I love the piano steps..but why is not Olmsted’s Prospect Park, that paragon of democratic values and passive recreation in the landscape, not part of the ‘fun theory’…? Or is it..
I do not know any other examples, but I am going to strong- arm my fellow LA’s to consider it in their designs..As long as not too energy-expending ..what was the carbon footprint of the piano steps, compared to regular steps?
Now that I think about it, aren’t properly designed steps fun – it is the 7-8″ riser with the short 12″ tread that makes it painful..
I can think of two sets of steps that were fun through design – at U of Penn, the campus design (highly controversial as to who it is attributed to..) has a set of long steps, 3″-4″ risers, 2″ to 4’ treads, where every step is on a different foot – it feels like a back massage..!
and anyone who grew up in Beirut knows the ‘stinky steps ” so called because of their use as a bathroom by men over many decades..But they were 1,000- 2-000 steps that one could just run down, to get to the elementary school..the urine smell adding some element.. hard to say what..
so is ‘fun design’ better done as just ‘good design ‘ – the standard concrete 6-7″ riser and short 12″ tread we have long known to be absolutely wearying..Compare to the lovely steps at Dumbarton Oaks…October 16, 2009 at 9:27 pm #172650
Yeah, maybe its our short attention spans …I dont know, I didnt read everything you guys wrote.October 16, 2009 at 9:27 pm #172651
Ryan A. WaggonerParticipant
brilliant, seriously….i love it. makes you think about all the other stuff in our lives we see as mundane that could be a daily source of enjoyment, if only for a minute in our days….thanks for sharing brent!October 18, 2009 at 1:05 am #172649
yeah but as soon as someone starts jumping between six steps to “play” “Chopsticks” or “Twinkle, Twinkle…” and misses the step tumbling down the step and sues everyone and their mother for the insurance money then it all comes to an end. I hate the buzzkills of the world that will end the fun, I think Nick started a post about the world protecting us from ourselves a while back… In the U.S. there will be regulations and insurance issue to be sure. Great Ideas!October 18, 2009 at 1:10 am #172648
Carbon footprint? really Trace? just think how much extra energy the people are expelling… ahhh extra carbon dioxide from rapid exhales due to elevated heartrates…. the glaciers are definately shrinking due to the “fun steps”. Another argument between go figure! How much energy can you save if you can shut down the escalator?October 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm #172647
I definitely agree a lot with the comments about trying to over-intellectualize design (I am guilty of that myself), and loved these projects because they blended an intellectual component (addressing global concerns, public space, human behavior) with great, fun, creative ideas. Seemed like a nice vision of the role for designers as well – that designers act as a bridge and engage people through creativity.
Unfortunately, I think Bob and others are right about liability issues in the US. I have a feeling fear of lawsuits prevents a lot of lively, interesting design from happening. I am still amazed that the Crown Fountains ever got built in Chicago. Would have loved to see how they got around liability and insurance concerns.October 18, 2009 at 10:11 pm #172646
I geuss I have to re-iterate my point that ‘fun design’ is ultimately just good design – all the fireworks are not needed..The difference between a tiresome staircase with 6-7″ risers and 12″ treads, and a ‘fun’ 2″ riser with 3′ treads – that is good design versus boring design..Yes, one has to fit the space…But you do not need an electronic piano keys to make fun design – you just need good landscape design, and let people free in it..It is the difference between providing a real mile long meadow in the middle of the city, to simply platting out the private baseball fields with concession stand.. Of course both are best, but why is a well-designed landscape staircase not fun?October 19, 2009 at 12:53 am #172645
Unfortunately, In America we’ve regressed to a collective state of over-caffeinated logic based somewhere between the attention span of a hyper-active 12 year old and the litigiousness of Erin Brokovich.
Good design? I think we need more flashing, lime-green, tinsle-covered, 200 foot, interpretive, brushed titanium, elevation enhancement features to make sure we keep going up and down. Just don’t forget the required code-compliant handrail to disguise it as a set of stairs.
Anyone see Wall-E?
[/soliloquy]October 20, 2009 at 1:46 pm #172644
Interesting comments and thoughts. I enjoyed the clip of the bottle game and it makes you think about how we do design for pure function, how we design for liability and how we value engineer the hell out of project so they are not fun. Seems like the easy way out and as designers we need to think more about the user experience if we want to create landscapes and product that last.
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