Tall Pines School, a Montessori school in Brampton, Ontario, approached Earthscape to craft a design that would utilize their long and narrow site. The playscape needed to function as three separate play spaces for three different age groups; infants (younger than 2.5 years), prima casa (2.5 to 4 years) and casa (4-5 years). Additionally, they wanted the design to related to the school’s name – tall pines – which is dually associated with nature and First Nations culture.
The long and linear layout of this space was the greatest challenge to creating a cohesive and functional design. However, large iconic spaces, like the Highline project in New York City have demonstrated that a narrow profile offers design opportunities as well as challenges. In fact, the Highline project gave inspiration to the final concept which incorporates modern concrete paving into a natural setting to create atmosphere and energy. The irregularity of the paving and pathway systems suggests routes without prescribing the direction of movement.
Play elements were arranged to create a natural rhythm of play and exploratory experiences for both the active and passive child throughout each space. Trees and shrubs were added to the space to create future shade and added texture and nature connections.