June 28, 2010

Ost-some! Spielwagen Pop-up Playgrounds In Berlin


It's not so much that communists hate children, it's just that the communist idea of fun centers on balls-out renditions of patriotic songs and large-scale choreography, not anarchic playground scampering. And so even after reunification, Eastern Berlin's parks and plazas are severely under-playgrounded.

Spielwagen is a DIY, pop-up playground and activity program founded in the GDR era by parents in the eastern district of Friedrichshain [now the east-west mashup district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg].


A roving band of play facilitators and volunteers tour bring equipment for themed and freeform play to neighborhoods throughout the spring and summer. It looks like the building the playground structures--which are made of plywood and planks, recyled carpet tubes, and gym mats--is half the fun.

Except for product liability lawyers, who get to have no fun at at all.

Spielwagen's adaptable, ad hoc sensibility helped give birth to Kolle 37, an absolutely insane adventure playground where the kids build huts, operate a blacksmith shop, and weave baskets or whatever. It's like a happy little Lord of the Flies set-up--without the descent into animalistic, murderous savagery that is can be so off-putting. The great playground blog Playscapes has some photos.

Spielwagen - Berlin [spielwagen-berlin.de via playscapes thanks dt reader erik]

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