APE Studio is committed to fostering conversations that advance the design and reframe the perception of play environments. To that end, we facilitate a number of play talks, panels, and discussions exploring creative solutions to improve the quality and availability of play in children’s lives. Read on for descriptions of our educational offers.

 

Upcoming Opportunities


April 2019

 

Reframing the Playground: Consideration of European Play Precedents at Tulsa’s Gathering Place 

Tulsa’s Gathering Place is home to the nation’s largest public playground—a space that is dedicated to adventure, inspiration, and community.  To prepare for this endeavor, the playground planners, landscape architects, and sponsors explored European play philosophies and traveled throughout Denmark, Germany, and the UK to observe play precedents. The result: Tulsa’s park and its play areas offer numerous opportunities for multi-layered, multi-generational, and challenging play influenced by this on-the-ground study.  Presenters will discuss the opportunities and considerations for creating such an innovative environment in the United States. 

This session is part of the US Play Coalition’s 2019 Conference on the Value of Play.

 

May 2019

LACES-Square.jpg

Kids Will Be Kids: Designing for Play Value [part of Playing Around Workshop, Gathering Place]

In order to thrive, children need play environments where they can have fun, develop skills, test their powers, be adventurous, and take independent steps in a safe environment. Increasingly, communities in the U.S. are recognizing the importance of providing stimulating and engaging playspaces for children and families. At the same time, a fixation on injury reduction has limited the opportunities on the playground for children to experiment with risk and challenge. This presentation offers an approach to playspace planning that begins with the child’s perspective, examining “play” not as a group of activities but as a way of being. The focus will be on elements of design that contribute to self-directed play, social interaction, and an atmosphere of creative discovery, encouraging children and their families to return again and again to find something new each time they visit.

This is session is a site-specific session at Tulsa’s Gathering Place. Space is limited. 1 PDH, LA CES / HSW.

 

May 2019

LACES-Square.jpg

Fundamentals of Playspace Design: Space, User, Material [part of Playing Around Workshop, Gathering Place]

Led by members of the Gathering Place planning team, participants will tour the park’s five-acre playspace and explore the range of play types and materials offered within its diverse play areas.  The session will include discussion of relative space requirements for varied play activities and observation of user play behaviors. Special attention will be given to the play value of each of the primary materials encountered within the playspace—wood, water, sand, rubber, and steel.

This is a site-specific session at Tulsa’s Gathering Place. Space is limited. 1.5 PDH, LA CES / HSW.

 

May 2019

LACES-Square.jpg

Play for All: Fostering Inclusive Moments [part of Playing Around Workshop, Gathering Place]

Creating play environments that conform to accessibility requirements does not always translate into inclusive, shared play experiences.  This session will look at the moments within Gathering Place—ranging from sensory gardens to accessible play bridges to water environments—that are both technically accessible and welcoming to users of all ages and abilities.    

This is a site-specific session at Tulsa’s Gathering Place. Space is limited. 1.5 PDH, LA CES / HSW.

 

May 2019

LACES-Square.jpg

Climbing “Water Mountain”: Understanding the essentials of water play [part of Playing Around Workshop, Gathering Place]

Water is an essential element for engaging, interactive play. Water Mountain at Gathering Place features a range of water-play environments, where visitors experience different aspects of water’s properties, power, and potential for collaborative play. In this hands-on survey, participants will consider equipment selection, planning approaches, and technical requirements for developing rich water play experiences without overwhelming budgets and maintenance resources.

This is a site-specific session at Tulsa’s Gathering Place. Space is limited. 1.5 PDH, LA CES / HSW.

 

May 2019

LACES-Square.jpg

Designing within the Standards [part of Playing Around Workshop, Gathering Place]

Playground design can seem constrained by the safety requirements that govern U.S. playgrounds. Recent and notable playspaces, including Gathering Place, provide a model for how to maintain compliance without sacrificing creativity. In this dialogue, a safety expert and a technical specialist discuss how to develop playground and equipment designs that maximize fun and challenge within the bounds of the safety standard.

This is a site-specific session at Tulsa’s Gathering Place. Space is limited. 1.5 PDH, LA CES / HSW.

 

May 2019

LACES-Square.jpg

Planning for Maintenance [part of Playing Around Workshop, Gathering Place]

A playground’s longevity and success correlates directly to the resources allocated and maintenance planning performed from early design stages. This discussion with maintenance professionals will address what maintenance burdens designers can anticipate and alleviate.  Presenters will address how to prepare for and manage the varying efforts required to maintain spaces of all sizes--from a neighborhood space to a high-traffic play environment such as Gathering Place.  

This is a site-specific session at Tulsa’s Gathering Place. Space is limited. 1 PDH, LA CES / HSW.

 

Planning Beyond the Free-Standing Slide

May 2019

LACES-Square-Grey.jpg

With an increased interest in nature play environments, slides have become a key opportunity to integrate play and landscape in a more meaningful and seamless way.  This focused workshop will review the variety of slide types available, associated technical and safety considerations, as well as possible applications for each.  

This is a site-specific session at Tulsa’s Gathering Place. Space is limited. 1 PDH, LA CES / HSW.

 

Considering the Construction Process: Planning Ahead for Smoother Installation

May 2019

LACES-Square-Grey.jpg

On a construction site, play area installations rarely get implemented precisely according to plan. Proactive steps when planned ahead can alleviate many common issues encountered on the jobsite.  In this session, a playground installer and construction administrator draw upon their collective experience to offer guidelines and recommendations for efficient and successful play space installation. 

This is a site-specific session at Tulsa’s Gathering Place. Space is limited. 1 PDH, LA CES / HSW.

 

Learning opportunities denoted with the “LA CES” logo have been approved by the Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System, which is a collaboration of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards, Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board, and the Landscape Architecture Foundation. 

 

Ongoing Opportunities

APE Studio offers a range of learning opportunities available upon request.  For more information about a particular topic, or our eduction initiatives generally, please contact edu@apeoriginal.com.


 
2019_0118-Individualicons17.png

Golden Rules for Playspace Design 

Outdoor playgrounds are an open invitation for children to explore and engage with the world. As children touch, move, build and climb, they are learning—even subconsciously—about themselves, their companions, and the physical environment. Since childhood experiences have a profound and lasting impact, designing spaces for children’s play is a consequential undertaking. Presenters will provide an overview of the key factors that influence playground design and a deeper exploration of tested approaches for integrating elements of adventure, collaboration, and imagination to create an atmosphere that fosters self-determination and enduring enjoyment.

 
2019_0118-Individualicons14.png

Everything in Flux: Water for Play 

Essential to life, water is also fundamental to great playspaces. Water holds an elemental fascination; its innumerable properties invite contemplation, experimentation, and play. “Everything in Flux” explores water's characteristics, the social behaviors it fosters, and how to design playspaces that capture imaginations and inspire repeat park visits.

 
2019_0118-Individualicons16.png

The Value of Wood for Playground Equipment 

Natural wood is especially beneficial and conducive to satisfying play. Often, however, there are considerable barriers to including wood on playgrounds. This presentation examines the characteristics and benefits of wooden playground equipment—and addresses commonly held concerns about safety and maintenance--drawing on case studies of successful playground installations in the United States.

 
2019_0118-Individualicons15.png

Creative Cooperation for Powerful Play

Peter Heuken, director of special projects at Richter Spielgeräte GmbH, plays an integral role in the design and fabrication of custom-built playground equipment for major projects around the globe. His work challenges perceptions and expectations of what a playground is and for whom it is built, making equipment for children of all ages and ranges of mobility.  In this session, Mr. Heuken shares insights gained from groundbreaking destination playgrounds in the United States, including Tulsa’s Gathering Place, among numerous projects nationwide. He shares his unusual perspective on integrating play within landscape and the learning curve that accompanies close collaboration with architects and landscape architects.  Note: This presentation can be tailored to individual firms and specific projects. 

 

Past Limited Engagements


 

2017

Speaking of Risk

An international panel of speakers examined different strategies to create policy that is more accepting and encouraging of challenge in playspaces.  The conversation began by reviewing the importance of challenge in play environments before looking at standard development and implementation in Europe and the UK, specifically shifting policy towards risk-benefit analysis. Finally panelists explored creating a common language around risk, one involving all stakeholders. 

Presented at the International Play Association’s 20th Triennial conference.

 

2015

The Multiplatform Playground

APE Studio’s Julia Rousakis spoke about the history and development of American playgrounds in this panel of makers of playful products, media, and experiences for children. Speakers discussed the similarities, differences, and opportunities for play across a variety of the platforms that exist in modern family life.

This session was part of the annual Kidscreen Summit.

 

2014

Playful Cities: Kids & Design in Urban Environments

This panel for landscape architects, city planners, and advisers explored the design of play spaces in urban environments. Special consideration was given to developing comprehensive plans for play; effectively engaging children and youth in the design process; and understanding the essential childhood need for challenging play environments. 

Presented at the American Society of Landscape Architect’s Annual Meeting.

 

2014

Risky Play, Thrills, and Ecstasy

While technology is improving every day to capture the feeling of reality, actual reality still exists beyond the screen! As part of “Actual Reality,” a panel focused on the theory and practice of designing and building real-world play experiences for kids—including theme park attractions, science centers, and water parks—Julia Rousakis explained the keys to creating exhilarating, empowering, extraordinary playgrounds. 

This presentation was part of the annual World Congress of Play.

 

2013

Playing it Too Safe?

Are playgrounds today giving children what they need? This panel for landscape architects, project managers, and advisers discussed how to balance risk and safety in planning playspaces, while considering how the play—and legal—environment has changed in the twenty-first century, from both the European and the American practitioners’ perspectives.

Presented at the American Society of Landscape Architect’s Annual Meeting.