Flying Fortress Park is a newly created open space within a housing development and regeneration area, currently of around 7,500 homes and increasing. At the point PLAYLINK was commissioned, in July 2013, the open space could be described as ‘flat, windy and raw’ with few features and little or no natural shade. This will change over time as the planting in the wider park area matures and, similarly, the landscaping PLAYLINK undertook within its design footprint beds in and grows.
Our aim was to create a playable public space linked seamlessly to the wider public realm. The space is designed to be welcoming and engaging to all ages – children, teenagers, adults - not only a place for energy-burning activity, but also a place of calm and neighbourhood sociability.
As the Portfolio pictures demonstrate, the design achieves our aspirations for it, not least the age and gender mix, though we always think we should do even better. The new space is already well-used by families and across the age range of children and teenagers.
The new shared space includes: an open sided ball court with seating that can also be used for informal play or a gathering space when not being used for football or basketball; seating with backs and armrests as well as picnic tables; plenty of informal, playful seating also used as sand tables and much else; swings and a large slide; opportunities for quiet contemplative play as well as opportunities for more challenging activities; extensive sand area; mounding including an accessible mound with a spiral path through a meadow area; a log maze.
The design brief included making reference to the historic use of the site as part of an airfield used by the US air force during WW2.