The first warm spring day of 2014 was a good day to journey through Amsterdam seeking the remaining traces of Aldo Van Eyck's playgrounds. The playgrounds of which some 700 were once to be found around the city are now rather sparse on the ground. The photos here show what I found on my journey.
The locations around the city where I found the playgrounds, some fully intact some modified and some relocated.
Three sandpits with a bank of benches facing the sun a popular playspace in the older part of Westerpark.
A waterfountain and climbing frame in one with the signature Van Eyck blocks surrounding it, centrally located at the crossing point of a number of paths, makes for a busy location in the summer.
The large climing dome is all of what remains at this playground in Statsleidenbuurt.
The sandpit at Herenmarkt surrounded by benches. A low concrete lip with a space for sitting along the inside, the lip opens at two points allowing access. The sandpits often contained other concrete elements here one circle forms the centre.
The large concrete stepping stones are all that remain of the playground at Hasebroekstraat.
Another large climbing dome in Vondelpark, its minimalism allows for endless reinterpretation encouraging different forms of play, creativity and imagination.
Large circular basin in Vondelpark with a series of stepping stones. In summer this is filled with to a shallow depth with water. Its still a popular space without water all thats needed is a ball.
One of the most intact playgrounds in Amsterdam this space combines a sandpit with hexagonal climbing blocks and the circle of bars. Here the sandpit has a trio of concrete bands in its centre
A detail of the hexagonal concrete blocks climbing structure.
Another intact playground in Vondelpark a large sandpit has as its counterweight an ensemble containing the bars, stepping stones and dome. A recent addition to this playground is the climbing towers and slide by Carve.
Another circular sandpit surrounded now by a hedge-maze seems like its just a popular place to sit.
The first playground Van Eyck designed and still intact, with what looks like some small additions.
The first playground Van Eyck designed and still intact.
The remaining sandpit at Jacob Obrechtplein other play elements have been added but they like the wooden climbing frame in the background lack the consistency and coherence that Van Eyck's play elements gave to the space.
Two large sandpits with some new climbing elements in their interior groups are happy to cluster around the edges forming different playgroups and their own spaces. It was very busy here on the first real warm day of the year.
An inviting run of stepping stones shows how Van Eyck seamlessly integrated play into the streetscape. They sit in contrast to the recent addition in the background.
Another large circular basin for waterplay in the summer, this time in Oosterpark.
Detail of a climbing frame in Oosterpark which seems like it was relocated to here. The open structure again provides endless possibility for reinterpretation and encourages creativity and imagination.