When Brad Moulton, ASLA, Principal at la terra studio?, learned about the expansion at First United Methodist Church in Richardson, TX, he knew this project would hold a special place in his heart. Brad grew up in Richardson, a city located about 10 miles north of Dallas, as a member of the church and his two children attended the daycare that was about to get a new, improved and larger playspace as part of the $20million dollar expansion to meet the needs of the growing community and region. Using equipment like the Sound Garden for musical, tactile and auditory development, climbing events to keep kids moving and enhance cognitive planning, strategic thinking and strength building, and slides for balance, coordination and just plain fun, the team at la terra was able to take learning and development outside and make it available to everyone! Ground-level play events offer inclusiveness for children with mobility limitations and the turf used as surfacing allows all children to be at the heart of the action! Children learn best while they play and la terra and the members at the church considered the importance of well-designed and developed spaces for kids to grow, move and create experiences that transcend out of the playground. Attention to detail and a holistic view of the project created a playspace that fit into the design of the overall campus. Areas in-between the two playground pods provide circulation throughout the campus as well as gathering areas for parents while the kids play. The paving patterns throughout the areas were chosen to mimic the interior of the cross on the mail stained glass window of the sanctuary, also used in the many of the church logos and publications. A two foot wall was built along the northern edge of the playground that provides an upper viewing area for parents and family to watch the activity below. Along the walkway in the upper area, 6 planter boxes were built to be used by the day school in educational programs about nature, plants and seasons.
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