Increasing children’s outside time is a perennial dilemma for parents. What this design, for an educational setting, investigates is the means through which increasing social infrastructure and opportunity for children will, by definition, lead to more time spent outdoors.
The aim is that the structure in the garden become a site of easy and casual socialisation between the children in the household and their peers elsewhere in the estate or locality. There will be no need for parents to exchange a series of texts to organise it, no setting up of play dates, no over-prescribing the duration of the visit. This is the kids’ realm, the side passage is open and the neighbouring children come and go. It is an effort to recreate the easy childhood socialisation regime of yore.
The ultimate aim is to get the children to spend more time outside, this is a means of doing that. Kids love nature and being outside but not on their own. On their own they are more inclined to gravitate to the screen inside the house, but amongst friends and in a group they are much more likely to forego the screen in favour of outdoor pursuits.
The message is simple, increase the ease and opportunities for socialisation and the time spent outside will increase. The built hub here is the fulcrum and facilitates an array of pursuits and also provides for dry activity when the weather is particularly unpleasant.
The setting is miniature vignettes of our natural landscape; the forest, lakelands and wild meadow.