Bicentennial Children’s Park is designed by Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena, who won the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2016 and Global Award for Sustainable Architecture. He is mainly known for his socially conscious building projects that attempt to break down economic inequality in urban areas. The Bicentennial Children’s Park is located in Santiago, Chile, with an area of 40,000 sq m., and was constructed in 2012. This project is designed for Parque Metropolitano de Santiago.

Bicentennial Children's Park by Alejandro Aravena - Sheet1
Swing area_© Cristobal Palma

A long walk is always good for both physical and mental health. Santiago has no single place to go for a long walk without being interrupted by a street. Therefore, this four-hectare children’s park was designed with a 10 km pedestrian promenade which is formed from an old agricultural canal. The main attraction of this park is that it is located on the slope of a hill where the children can play with excitement and at the same time be safe. The main objective of the project was to break the inequalities between the rich and the poor. To achieve this, the government considered the option of income redistribution; but without having to wait for income redistribution to be implemented, they thought of a public space where everyone can gather, despite their differences. The weather in Santiago gives a home advantage for the designer to design a park. This city has mild winters and long warm and dry summers, which makes it a perfect spot for the park with lots of tree

Bicentennial Children's Park by Alejandro Aravena - Sheet2
Location of the site_© Cristobal Palma
Bicentennial Children's Park by Alejandro Aravena - Sheet3
Distance view of the park_© Cristobal Palma

The planning of the park is in such a way that both the parents and the children can have fun. The children’s playground alone is about 1800sq m. This playground includes tree houses, swings with a safety harness, a forest of spheres and toboggan cascades. The Bicentennial Children’s Park has slid around 60 arranged on the hillside. The site has one part which is sloping, and the other is flatter as it approaches the urban fabric. The contour of the site is utilised to solve the basic problem faced in every park. One of the main problems is the safety of the children during their pay. A 6-meter slide on the ground level must make the child climb 4m which is dangerous. In this case, the child can climb a long slide by using the stairs present nearby and not be scared on the slide because the ground present below is only 30km away.

Bicentennial Children's Park by Alejandro Aravena - Sheet
Plan of the park_© Cristobal Palma
Bicentennial Children's Park by Alejandro Aravena - Sheet5
Section of the park_© Cristobal Palma

As far as the design of the treehouse is concerned, the child need not have to climb from the bottom of the tree. Horizontal access is given from the ground level to reach the top of the tree which makes it safer for the children to play in the treehouse. The swings, on the other hand, are tied to one circular ring which is supported by ting rods from the ground. Every park must have a high percentage of landscape to provide shade and oxygen for the people present here. Timber cabins go up amongst the treetops.

Bicentennial Children's Park by Alejandro Aravena - Sheet6
The forest of Sphere_© Cristobal Palma
Bicentennial Children's Park by Alejandro Aravena - Sheet7
Fountain from the Sphere_© Cristobal Palma

Near the treehouse, there is a forest of spheres designed so that the children do not have to go from one corner of the park to another. These spheres also act as fountains which makes the children and even the adults excited. This makes the park yet divided into two parts- a dry play area and a semi-wet play area. Even though the water from the fountain does not drench people, it is enough to make them wet. The spheres are of different sizes, which makes them more interesting. There are several other activities, such as the amphitheater, where several performances, entertainment, and sports activities take place. The puppet show is one of the famous shows that take place in this amphitheatre. It is surrounded by a wooden fencing which is around 8’ high. Another spellbinding feature of this Bicentennial Children’s Park is the rustic trail which is present on the highest point of the park. It is also acts as a great place for sightseeing.

Bicentennial Children's Park by Alejandro Aravena - Sheet8
Playing area for children_© Cristobal Palma

Bicentennial Children’s Park contains other amenities such as coffee shops, flower shops, and a kiosk. The park, in addition, has a storeroom and warehouse where all the necessary things and old items are stored. A service entrance for the park is provided to avoid the interference of the public. The major materials used in this park are reinforced concrete, wood, and steel.

A project to bring all together with no difference, the insight of the Park tells us that everyone must be treated equally despite their status. In terms of design, the Bicentennial Children’s Park shows the existing site can have its advantages such as the contours that are used as the slides and the plains used as pedestrian walkways, amphitheatres and other play areas. Therefore, this children’s park has given the children a golden opportunity where their childhood can be treasured.

Slides located on slope of the hill_©Cristobal Palma

References:

  1. Mchap.co. n.d. [online] 

Available at: <https://www.mchap.co/MCHAPprojects/Children-Bicentennial-Park?pgid=jtkkqaa7-4f777d_a2a1aafa0e464f7a80cbc547de6a3a4fmv2> [Accessed 8 May 2022].

  1. Johnson, P. and Johnson, P., n.d. Bicentennial Children’s Park, Elemental, Santiago Chile, 2012 – Playscapes. [online] Playscapes. 

Available at: <http://www.play-scapes.com/play-design/contemporary-design/bicentenial-childrens-park-elemental-santiago-chile/> [Accessed 8 May 2022].

  1. Arquitectura Viva. n.d. Bicentennial Chilrens Park, Santiago – Alejandro Aravena  ELEMENTAL. [online]

Available at: <https://arquitecturaviva.com/works/parque-bicentenario-de-la-infancia-0> [Accessed 8 May 2022].

Author

Nivedhakavyasree is a young Architect who believes that her passion for writing and her love for architecture can be brought together. Bringing out a fictitious idea into everyone's vision is one of her areas of expertise. For her, the search for new is like a never-ending thirst.

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