NAVAGRAH LA+UD provided its expertise for design, construction drawings and construction administration of the naturalized playground at Queen Elizabeth Elementary School, Calgary. As part of the project approvals, NAVAGRAH worked with the school playground committee and CBE’s landscape approving authority. The proposed design for the Naturalized Playground is intended to create a playful new amenity for the Queen Elizabeth Elementary School and the community of West Hillhurst. Prior to development, the playground space featured two large mature poplar trees, few elms, a larch tree, a walkway leading to pre-existing play structures, few benches and patches of grass. The now built playground creatively engaged all the pre-existing trees, walkway, benches to create a sustainable, playful community hub.
The key intent with the playground was to reacquaint kids with nature through play, let them explore the nature’s vast materiality, textures, scents, heights and evoke their various sensory experiences. The playground design through use of logs, boulders, rock and logs maze, various type of trees, berms, grasses, mulches, raingarden, bridges intends to bring about imaginative free play, excitement in the kids’ lives and through these joyous emotions foster a healthy, loving interactions between kids. The playground design also features a small outdoor learning area to introduce some learning in nature at school. The naturalized playground as a shared community amenity is a great new addition to the school and the community of West Hillhurst. This naturalized playground project realized through the initiation and implementation by a community based organization is an inspiring example of how quality public spaces can be shaped through collaboration, engagement and community spirit.