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The Upside Down House By Alma-nac
Think back to your childhood and the joy you experienced on your first trip to a new playground, with all the slides, climbing frames, monkey bars and swings. For children, playgrounds are a colourful and fun oasis designed just for them in the boring and oversized adult world. Whilst many are designed to a standard formula, Alma-nac's competition winning Upside Down House takes the creativity to a new level, and bearing in mind how excited children get at the simplest of things this park will likely tip them over the edge. Due to be situated in Reading's Green Park Village, a residential development in the commuter city West of London, the firm's design won a competition seeking "novel and inspiring concept designs for a £15,000 playhouse or set of playhouses".
The core idea behind the scheme is an inverted house. Its form deliberately mimics the homes found in the development in a bid to encourage children to think about the built environment in a free and exploratory way. The playful, almost silly, idea of taking an entire house and flipping it upside down is bound to capture the attention of children, and introduce the important link between creation and playful experimentation.
The design is packed full of imaginative elements, such as a drain pipe that doubles as a fireman's pole and balcony with a picket fence. A climbing wall to the window acts as a sneaky entrance point for stealthy children, and a slide from the front door provides a quick getaway route. When you look out from the house down towards the ground your gaze will be met with, you guessed it, the sky. Bulbous cloud seating is dotted around the edge of the house, offering respite for tired children and a place for parents to socialise.

Every moment of creation is an opportunity to design a better world for yourself and others. The Greenwich Village developers could have opted for a typical, cookie cutter playground that would no doubt have provided a lot of joy to children. However, in opening up the brief to creative minds they have a facilitated a unique, novel design that some of the children will probably remember for the rest of their lives. Besides this, Alma-nac's wonderful design will also ignite a creative spark in some of the next generation, laying the groundwork for a thoroughly and thoughtfully designed future.