The Secret Playground [Chicago, USA]

Location: In the courtyard of Resurrection Lutheran Church at the corner of School and Seminary [MAP]
Designer: Unknown
Project Type: Courtyard, Playground, Residential, Urban
Completion Date: Unknown
Visited: 28.3.2013
Access: From a side door off of Resurrection Lutheran Church. As this is actively used by the preschool run in the church, permission is needed before entering.

Set between the very narrow, and compact space between Resurrection Lutheran Church and their administrative building, the Secret Playground is an absolute joy to behold. Walking along Seminary, one would not normally notice this charming hideaway as the neighboring buildings effectively misdirect the eyes upwards rather than between.

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However during recess, the small courtyard is filled with many loud, gleeful cheers of preschoolers burning off energy as they run and climb from structure to structure.

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At its widest, the courtyard boasts two picnic tables, a basketball hoop and a sandbox for open play and a chance for the kids to run around.

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However in the smallest area, the towering, wooden structure rises up and builds off the space, working to utilize every square inch, both sideways and upwards.

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Each level is carefully entwined with other levels to create a rich use of space with multiple possibilities. Though it compromises such a small amount of space, the Secret Playground can accommodate many children at a time, whether it be a place to hide during hide and go seek, or a place to hang with friends and color the ceiling.

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From the tree house at its highest point, to the small crawl spaces and underpasses at its lowest, the structure effectively ignites the imagination into using every area in the most unique way possible.

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