The Brutalist Playground


Assemble worked in collaboration with artist Simon Terrill to create the Brutalist Playground: an immersive installation that recreated a trio of post-war play structures out of foam.

©Tristan Fewings, Getty Images for RIBA

Designed for the Architecture Gallery at the RIBA, the Brutalist Playground consisted of full size fragments of three distinctive London housing estates: Churchill Gardens in Pimlico, the Brownfield Estate in Poplar, and the Brunel Estate in Paddington.

Assemble recast these concrete and steel playground structures in reconstituted foam in order to allow people to consider their formal characteristics separately from their materiality, and in doing so allow them to be reappraised as places for play.

Churchill Gardens Playground, Pimlico, ©RIBA Library Photographs Collection

The Balfron Tower Slide ©Simon Terrill

©Simon Terrill

The Flying Saucer at Churchill Gardens playground ©John Donat, RIBA Library Photographs Collection

To compliment the installation, Simon Terrill created a film composed from images of the estates from the RIBA’s archive. The RIBA also used the exhibition as a forum for a programme of workshops, events and debates on brutalist architecture, play and the city.

©RIBA Library Photographs Collection

©Tristan Fewings, Getty Images for RIBA

Playground at Park Hill, Sheffield

Seamount Court, Aberdeen

The Brutalist Playground at Peacock Visual Arts, Aberdeen, 2016