creating space to play

As part of an Industrial Design Studio course at Arizona State University we worked with the community of Round Valley in Arizona to design and install a playground made out of locally sourced materials at the local Boys and Girls Club.

The kids came to the Club one morning to find their playground structure had blown away in a big storm. They located it and rolled it back, but the wind had done enough damage to render it unsafe to reinstall. This provided an opportunity for my industrial design students to join forces with the community and create a new solution.

Over a six week project we were able to add a new gaga ball pit, older kid play space, younger kid play space, outdoor teaching area, and three benches.

The star of this project was the community. They were engaged in every step of the process and really guided the direction and really showed up for the installation. We made two trips to the White Mountains to engage with the community.

First visit to Round Valley – learn from and design with the community

  • Library was our home base. They donated a community room for us to use as our place to plan and prepare as a team.
  • Site visits. We made several visits to the play space.
  • Community engagement BBQ at the Boys and Girls Club to play with the kids and learn from the grown ups.
  • Business tours
  • Team building activities

Second visit to Round Valley – build and install with the community

  • Raw materials
  • Construction
  • Installation
  • Celebration

There are so many people to thank for the success of this project, but mostly; Ashlee Smith and Tonna Martin for being our project ‘moms’. They truly cared for the team by providing food, lodging, and emotional support… and only one trip to the ER.