Kinloch Gardens Treehouse, London Borough of Islington
The inspired addition of a bespoke treehouse in the centre of Kinloch Gardens in Islington has given a fresh, new life to the urban green space. The presence of the treehouse has enhanced the existing natural beauty of the parks patch of mature woodland while providing safe physical and imaginative play activity for local children.
Russell Play was invited to view Kinloch Gardens by the London Borough of Islington to discuss how they could create a natural and interesting play structure that would blend in with the existing trees. The site already featured a small playground but a new facility was felt to be greatly needed. Russell Play created a uniquely designed timber treehouse, with extended climbing sections that would integrate and twist round the established trees.
A small pocket of green recreational space such as Kinloch Gardens is important to its local community. It is their readily available ‘outdoors’ where they can sit among greenery in the sun or run around and play. Treehouses are icons of childhood and imaginative play that everyone can relate to so its presence has a positive effect on all who visit the gardens and see it. The same can also be said of the traditional children’s playhouse so it seemed a natural choice to add a similar timber style playhouse to provide a play area for toddlers. This would give younger children a dedicated play area away from the bigger kids and compliment the treehouse.
The treehouse is centrally placed and visible from the approach paths of each of the three entrances. Its central position also makes the house a fantastic lookout across the whole garden. Selective splashes of colour on the equipment bring some vibrancy but with the predominantly natural colour of the timber it sits comfortably in its leafy backdrop.
The structure of the treehouse consists of a large variety of features for different kinds of play activity and its scale and robustness allows many children to play at the same time. The first section is that of a platform, wrapped around a tree, with access net, access ramp with pull up rope and footholds linking via suspension bridge to main playhouse. The main playhouse consists of three split level platforms at 1m, 1.5m and 2m high, climbing wall with multi-coloured hand holds, fireman's pole and 2m high stainless steel half tube slide. The house then links to a trail via hand over hand loop walk. The trail consists of horizontal net, multiple balance beams at various heights, chunky jungle rope walk, balance ropes, slacklines and notched beams with support rope.
The treehouse structures do not harm the trees or their roots as they are designed to be self-supporting whenever possible to eliminate the need for foundations. The shape and form of these tree houses are designed to suit a particular tree and if necessary, the tree house can be further secured to a special base plate. Constructed using robinia and oak timber (FSC approved European hardwoods).