White City, no limits

The White City Play Project has been named London Adventure Playground of the Year 2014. At a packed ceremony held at the Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley, White City, one of the capital's newest adventure playgrounds, triumphed in a highly competitive field.

APES sponsors this category and provides the prize, so with the help of the playground's users, we will design and build a new structure for White City and donate £500-worth of materials.

We would like to congratulate all the winners and highly commended finalists. For more information, visit London Play and check out YouTube.


Water, water everywhere

Our engineers have been busy installing new water play equipment at Oasis Adventure Playground in Stockwell, South London.

The structure uses a hand pump and a turbine, offering children more power to their elbow.

Sensory play is a vital part of APES' work and plays a profound role in stimulating children's creativity, paying dividends cognitively and emotionally.

It's not just water: we also build accessible structures with musical features and create habitats that allow kids in the city to get in touch with nature via the use of sand and earth.

The realm of the senses is a crucial environment for children's play and we know how to traverse it.


After the days of summer have gone

To mark the changing seasons, APES' leader John O'Driscoll has co-organised a German-style shindig with the folks at Cody Dock, to be held on 27 September.

"Septemberfest", APES' answer to Oktoberfest, will offer visitors tasty morsels of food, plenty of German beer and a mixture of DJ sounds and live music. Families are welcome, with doors opening at 2pm. Entry is free (but bring the attached flyer to gain admittance), although donations will help cover the event's costs and support Cody Dock, a charity that aims to regenerate a deprived part of the capital.

John celebrated his 50th birthday at the venue, a triple birthday bash held in May with two of his friends, and was keen to replicate the experience.

He said: "We had such good fun at our collective birthday party, so we thought we'd do it all over again. Here we go!"

We hope to see you there.


Refined Pallet, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham

APES has completed work on the Pallet Pavilion, a pop-up that harnesses surplus material from local construction sites to provide a temporary structure for community use in Barking Town Centre.

The pavilion will play host to a variety of events over the summer, including the Lost Picture Show, which will transform the town square into an outdoor cinema with a big screen and deckchairs; Parkour workshops; plus a host of activities for children and young people, including a pantomime. The Pallet Pavilion offers a community canvas for arts, crafts and food activities.

John O'Driscoll, director of APES, said: "This project was a real pleasure. A special mention for artist and designer Kiran Chahal, whose vision and energy pushed the project to fruition, and to Barking Council, which was a joy to work with."


APES bearing gifts

Kids at Shakespeare Walk Adventure Playground have been swept off their feet by new structures provided by APES, SWAPA’s prize for winning London Adventure Playground of the Year 2013.

Donating £500 worth of material, APES worked with the kids to design a series of elevated structures and obstacles, so now they can play without touching the ground: who needs gravity anyway? With construction complete, the children can travel from the existing large rope swing around to the playground slide via piles of tyres, balancing logs and planks, rope tunnels, bridges and monkey bars.

John O’Driscoll, director of APES, said: “We are really pleased to be able to make a top playground even better. We get kids involved in the design of all our play structures – after all, they are the experts – so this award was a perfect fit for us.”

He added: “The London Adventure Play Awards offer vital recognition of the difference play makes in the capital, and it’s a privilege to be associated with them.” The awards, run by London Play, are inviting entries for 2014. The deadline is 17 September: click here to apply.


APES puts best foot forward for Kew

Adventure Playground Engineers is pleased to unveil the fruits of its partnership with Kew Gardens: the Barefoot Walk trail. It uses mud, water, rocks, wood chippings and tree stumps to offer visitors the opportunity to feel the benefits of nature's healing properties.

John O’Driscoll, director of APES, says: “This project is very close to our heart. APES has an established interest in sensory play, apparent in the many high-profile adventure playgrounds we have built, so we were a natural partner for this project in more ways than one. It has been an honour working with Kew and we’re proud of what we’ve produced.

“The trail provides natural reflexology, an invigorating experience that benefits body and spirit. It offers adults the chance to revisit their carefree, childhood days playing barefoot, and gives kids growing up in London the opportunity to kick off their shoes and mess around in nature.”


The Pleasance, Putney, London Borough of Wandsworth

APES has completed work on the Pleasance, Putney, a job commissioned by Wandsworth council. The project called for the provision of play opportunities that utilised the natural environment. The Pleasance was the medieval site of a hunting lodge belonging to the Archbishop of Canterbury and has retained its woodland appearance, providing a quiet open space for local residents. As such, prefabricated play equipment was inappropriate, but the green designs APES has become famous for were ideal.

The structures include a teepee-style bench, a basket swing and an extraordinary oak frame. The site also benefits from a root ball donated by Kew Gardens. Thanks to the APES team, a site of great natural beauty and respite from the city will now benefit from a beautiful play space for local children.


Glittering prizes

The Timber Lodge and Tumbling Bay Playground has taken home the honours at the Civic Trust Awards 2014.

The project triumphed in the Selwyn Goldsmith Award for Universal Design category, named for the architect Selwyn Goldsmith, author of the seminal Designing for the Disabled: The New Paradigm (1963) and founding figure of the "universal design" school.

A team of judges including Keith Bright, emeritus professor of inclusive environments at the University of Reading, and Simon Turton, director at Aperis Building Consultancy, described the scheme as "the focal point of the north of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park" and appreciated its "rich play landscape", which "creates a wide range of play opportunities for children of all ages and abilities".

Congratulations to all the partners on the scheme, especially Erect Architecture, BAM Nuttall and Frosts Landscapes.


Stoneydown Park, London Borough of Waltham Forest

APES has completed work on the play structures for the Stoneydown Park site in Waltham Forest.

The project was developed in partnership with Friends of Stoneydown Park, a local volunteer group that works with the council’s Greenspace team to maintain the site.

As per APES' environmentally friendly MO, the structures are built from recycled material, featuring: a locally donated piano; an oak tree uprooted during last year's autumn storms; hardwood timber donated from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park project by our partners BAM Nuttall and Frosts Landscapes; plus a rock table sourced from the Tumbling Bay Playground (another donation from Frost). Thanks guys!


Gunpowder, treason and plot

Baby, there were fireworks. APES celebrated the attempted destruction of 17th-century government with a no-holds-barred Bonfire Night event.

Organised in conjunction with Liam Anderson of OffCut collective and Crate Brewery, the firework display was a free community event that attracted 500 locals from the area surrounding Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The rockets were launched from barges on the canal to the accompaniment of music broadcast from floating platforms.

The response was overwhelmingly positive and shows there is no party like an APES-run party.


Shakespeare Walk snags top prize from APES at Adventure Playground of the Year Award 2013

APES was proud to present the top prize of a new structure (including two days of our full staff team and £500 materials) to Shakespeare Walk APG at the Park Theatre in Finsbury Park this week. The playground won because of its inclusive atmosphere and variety of things to do. Children commented: “No one is ever left out...Everyone who goes there becomes part of a family.” Hackney did exceedingly well, with Hackney Marsh APG winning Most Open Adventure Playground Setting. APES would like to congratulate all the winners and highly commended finalists. For more on the story, visit London Play and check out YouTube.


Access all areas: Oasis Children's Venture, London Borough of Lambeth

Oasis secured BBC Children in Need funding to create accessible play structures for all children, disabled and non-disabled. With a limited budget, we were tasked with making the structures a reality. Local children were central to our plans: they helped design the build and were even involved in construction. The work features tube slides recycled from an old water flume; scramble nets; a fireman’s pole; and tall structures fully accessible by wheelchair. We love inclusion and this build was inclusive from conception to realisation.


MUD, glorious MUD:
St Matthew's Primary School, Cambridge

A joint project with multidisciplinary company 30Bird, MUD is a “cultural laboratory” in a Cambridge primary school playground. Created to replace tired old 1960s structures, 30Bird conceived and designed the project in concert with architectural practice public works, and we built it. The structure has a tree growing in its heart, plus a slide and playhouse. It is also quite TARDIS-like: it’s a lot bigger than it looks from the outside!


Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Tumbling Bay Playground Opens

Adventure Playground Engineers' QEOP Tumbling Bay Playground will be open to the public for the first time today.

Situated in the North Hub of the Olympic Park, the natural play structures were commissioned by London Legacy Development Corporation as part of the London 2012 Olympic Legacy transformation project. Designed in partnership with Erect Architecture and built by APES, the playground is constructed entirely from trees and branches sourced from an Oxfordshire forest.

Read about it here and in The Guardian


Yard hail

We moved into new premises in April, leaving behind our old base in Marsh Lane (redeveloped as part of the Olympic legacy). We’re as happy as an extremely contented group of builders in our HQ: it is situated near the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in the heart of an existing business community with an artsy vibe (it’s our kind of place). In terms of the site itself, it offers a variety of advantages over the old one: for a start it is a lot bigger, providing a significant increase in floor space. This has allowed us to build large structures off-site, expanding our design capability and giving us more room to store recycled material. Vitally, it is also next door to the best German deli this side of Düsseldorf. Great taste and more space? Yes, please!

linkedin youtube facebook twitter built by a5cend