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At the Design Awards on March 16th, the finalists presented their designs to the Awards Jury of notable Philadelphians, including early education experts, designers, city officials, and funders. In addition to the Awards Jury’s vote, the final scores factored in feedback from the community and an Expert Jury, whose input was collected earlier in the process. These designs represent concepts to move Philadelphia forward as a city that prioritizes public play spaces.

Play Structure | Story Structure

Ground Reconsidered Landscape Architecture (lead)
Designed For Fun
Friends Select School
J R Keller LLC Creative Partnerships
Meliora Environmental Design LLC
The Parent-Infant Center

The library is an “instrument of change”, with knowledge extending beyond the building. Our book sculpture soars out of the windows and into the landscape becoming a quiet reading garden on the south side of the site. On the north side of the site, the book opens up to reveal its narrative structure in a creative, physically challenging, but safe play environment. Inspired by children’s descriptions of their own playground designs, the play loop moves through a narrative structure with equipment representing the introduction, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution. This along with the stormwater garden can be used as education opportunities within the landscape. The entry is designed for every user of the site, providing both an accessible ramp and an outdoor venue to host library programs. Our design provides a beautiful and useful landscape that will become an iconic destination within the neighborhood.


Waterloo Rebosante | roofmeadow and Studio Ludo
Waterloo Rebosante

Roofmeadow (co-lead)
StudioLudo (co-lead)

Space for Childhood

Waterloo está, REBOSANTE de actividad, REBOSANTE de vida, REBOSANTE de alegría 
Waterloo is bustling with activity, brimming with life, overflowing with joy 

We believe that the energy of the Norris Square community is the reason that the Waterloo Recreation Center exists today. Given its history, nothing is more important than the care, devotion and life that neighbors have already infused into this place. As we re-imagine the future design of Waterloo, we seek both to honor and support the people who are its heart and soul and to create lasting connections with nature and play. 

During our design process, five elements inspired us: community, play, water, nature and re-use. By weaving together the diverse rhythms and energy of each, we created a place that celebrates the community of which it is an integral part.


Bright Futures Chutes and Ladders

Atkin Olshin Schade Architects (co-lead)
Meliora Environmental Design LLC (co-lead)

Viridian Landscape Studio (co-lead)
International Consultants, Inc.
The Parent-Infant Center 

Our scheme is inspired by the classic children’s board game: Chutes & Ladders. The board game is brought to life in three dimensions with the construction of two large scale “ladders” that act as shading devices, and with a lushly planted “chute” that represents the long buried Mill Creek. It connects the front and rear of the site while dividing the play space into public and private zones. A trike track parallels the chute and includes a closed circuit for younger children. The board game is realized on a smaller scale with landing spaces represented by eight outdoor playrooms – each with a different ground surface and unique play theme. Smaller chutes and ladders throughout the site reinforce the theme. Rain water is managed in multiple ways and is incorporated into active play in The Laboratory and The Studio. Shade trees define outdoor classrooms and rich plantings support rain gardens.



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