Each summer, Sasaki interns participate in an intensive charrette focused on a real-world design problem. This year's three-week design charrette explored the "Future of Play." Before jumping into designing and building, interns and charrette leaders took a site trip into the city of Boston to immerse the group in the theme of play. On an exciting day out of the office, the interns and charrette leaders visited multiple sites in the map below.
Interns and charrette leaders started the day visiting the exhibition Extraordinary Playscapes at the Boston Society of Architects (BSA). The exhibit, curated by the Design Museum Foundation: Boston, highlighted 40 examples of innovative playscape designs across the world along with interactive installations that allowed the group to play within the space.
Following the exhibition, the interns and charrette leaders stopped by food trucks along the Greenway to take a break for lunch. After lunch, the group toured across Boston to various playgrounds to get a hands on introduction to their designs. The playscapes on the tour were primarily selected from the Design Museum's Playground Passport. The opportunity to experience play at each of the sites allowed interns to develop their own experiences surrounding the topic of play.
First on the playground tour were the Playcubes in Chinatown park on the Greenway in Boston. This temporary installation through the Extraordinary Playscapes exhibit featured a simple system of connecting play cubes and slides which introduced the group to exciting playscape design through simple modular elements. The site also featured programming with hula hoops, badminton, and waterpaints that allowed kids, interns, and chartette leaders alike to all engage with the space.
Next, the group visited Playform7 at Boston City Hall Plaza. This playscape installation, which just opened earlier this year merges both play and public art. Landscape architecture intern Kira Sargent expressed, "It was great to see City Hall Plaza so activated and to see how an engaging play structure can draw people to an underused site."
Following the stop at City Hall Plaza, interns and charrette leaders traveled across the harbor to Thomas M. Menino Park in Charlestown. This new permanent playscape across from the Spaulding Rehabilitation Center was designed for inclusive play of all ages and abilities. Here, interns had the opportunity to play on a site that incorporated design elements for both fun and practical use, such as physical rehabilitation.
Interns and charrette leaders wrapped up the playscape tour at The Lawn on D, a Sasaki-designed project. The Lawn, now in its third season, has become a popular destination in Boston through its interactive elements and continuous programming. Of the visit to The Lawn on D, Sasaki Principal Isabel Zempel highlighted that "it was great for interns to visit sites designed by our own people who were responsible for the design and were able to talk and share the experience of building these spaces."
At the end of the long day, interns and charrette leaders were able to relax, debrief, and enjoy a dinner together along the water at the Barking Crab, a local favorite. Following the tour, the interns felt inspired and ready to move forward with the design portion of the charrette. Landscape architecture intern Tom Klein expressed that "being able to experience the playscapes firsthand helped our intern group to think about what design elements we value and what solutions we can create."
Stay tuned for an update on the Sasaki summer internship charrette's final design project, and keep scrolling for photos of the tour:
Interns Kara Slocum (left) and Jianwei Shi (right) build a tower with an interactive deck of cards.
Interns and charrette leaders pose for a photo on the Greenway during lunch break.
Charrette leader and architect Jeanette Pastrana plays with the hula hoops at Chinatown Park.
Interns play on the wheel-chair accessible merry-go-round at Thomas M. Menino Park in Charlestown.
Intern Jianwei Shi plays on the swings at the Lawn on D.