Wembley Playground, Wembley Stadium, London
Russell Play was approached by Applied Landscape Design (ALD) to help create a bespoke playground that would enhance the local development and provide an interesting attraction for visitors to enjoy. The playground was to be situated just outside Wembley stadium but had to cater for the adjacent shopping outlet and local housing. The design had to incorporate many different activities but also pay homage to the original towers of the old stadium.
Having recently completed a development at the Olympic Park with Applied Landscape Design, Russell Play was the obvious choice to help out at Wembley. Chris Wellwood from Russell Play comments: ‘At Russell Play we recognise that we are most helpful to Landscape Architects when we work alongside them, incorporating their vision into a practical, durable playground. Like many projects, Wembley had to be more than just a playground. The space was to include an events pad, natural gardens and general relaxation zone for adults.
Initial design discussions revealed the overall concept and requirement. The playground was to cater for users of all ages and had to include some interesting play features along with large bespoke items for visual impact. The first stage was to assess the overall landscape. Heavy land contouring was a key feature of the space so the designs had to accommodate this. The playground was also to be covered with a canopy which meant the height and profile of the equipment had to be considered at all times. Further design consultation gave Russell Play a fixed list of activity types and by using this as a template for the park, they began refining the theme of the equipment. Head architect at ALD (Kris Hindhaugh) expressed his vision for a natural looking timber product with a modern twist. The equipment was themed to represent the original Wembley towers but Russell Play was told not to make this too obvious. Instead, they highlighted the key features that would reflect the Wembley character and incorporated them in subtle way. For example, the distinctive ‘domed’ roofs were used on the central piece.
The development of the design required constant communication with the main contractor, canopy architects and structural engineers. Russell Play’s design team worked closely with them at all times to ensure all elements of the design worked together both in a conceptual and practical sense. A significant challenge was to ensure that the equipment could be placed on the contoured landform and achieve its target height. For further accuracy the equipment foundations were refined using the site master plan and fixed points for everything were issued so that the site could be prepared prior to our equipment arriving.
After 2 months of design development, the equipment was ready to be built. The Spielart factory in Germany began creating the ‘bones’ of the equipment whilst we continued to liaise with ALD on product details and options. When the equipment was ready to be delivered we worked with the main contractor to ensure the installation synchronised with the build programme. The equipment installation was handled by Russell Play as well.
On the 17th of April the playground was festively opened by Peter Andre.