Chutes and Tires | ATLAS Lab


The importance of usable open space has been well documented at various times and at various places throughout the world. For centuries small parks and playgrounds have functioned as vital social networking tools and places of reprieve from the city and home. When networked, these parks have the capability to provide and enhance transferences of the social ethos, strengthening bonds and establishing new ones. These peer-to-peer relationships, while often ignored, are a necessity to communities of any scale and location. Research has shown small open spaces to not only provide the infrastructural benefits, but also health benefits of lowering blood pressure, decreasing fear and anger and contributing to the education of children.



The application of surfaces and elements into site, give the program physical form should be inventive and in some ways repetitive. Repeated elements take the base form of a raised tire, built from a stilt-work of bamboo poles. The simple structure may be used as a node of gardening and landscape or as a simple play structure, easily constructed and durable.


The surface is developed to both add interest, permitting a higher degree of creative play, and to create a sense of enclosure from the exterior of the site. Constructed with rammed earth technology, tires are integral to creating a stable and inexpensive retaining wall and elevation change. Through the overlay of the surfaces and elements a dynamic and adaptive play space is established, fostering spontaneous and creative play activities while allowing for an infusion of landscape and gardens.


Play spaces are not an extra item that can be ignored. As a part of the urban infrastructure, they are as essential as roads, bridges and utilities. As a part of the social fabric they are just as important as schools and hospitals, often providing similar functions.



About Damian Holmes 3339 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at

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