The Scots Pine Cloud Observatory
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Playful interventions encouraging children to orienteer to a new playground inside Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The Scots Pine Cloud Observatory is the result of a community engagement project for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The project's focus was around the park opening to the public in July 2013 with a new 'Scots Pine Playground' and 'Timber Lodge' community centre. The project's aim was to create interventions that encourage local children to orienteer towards the playground. Secondly we were invited to design a permanent treatment to the playground itself.
Research unearthed the sites extraordinary links to clouds and steam. In 1803 Luke Howard invented cloud classification in the area. Timber Lodge is located where the Great Eastern Railway once built 1600 steam locomotives. Just outside the park Britain's first dry cleaners stood as did Walter Hancock's pioneering steam workshop. The Scots Pine Cloud Observatory was a response to these local connections to clouds and steam as well as the nest-like tower of the new playground.
Interventions were placed in the Olympic Park's surrounding neighbourhoods of Hackney Wick, Mabley Green and Leyton.
Giant hanging Cloud Mobiles hailed the start of the walking route from each location to the park and encouraged children to participate and play with the interventions that followed.
As an extension of the community engagement project we designed two small permanent treatments for the playground to act as a legacy of the project.
The focal point of the playground is a large climbable tower made of Scots Pines; we named this the ‘Scots Pine Cloud Observatory’ and punctuated the climb to the top of the observatory with plaques that help identify different cloud types and make games of finding shapes in the clouds.
The Scots Pine Cloud Observatory was awarded in the 2013 Creative Review Awards Annual
Commissioned by Ashley McCormick Projects for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Tumbling Bay & Timber Lodge designed by Erect Architects.
Playground design and build by APE.