Chicago Children’s Museum: Playmaze

A Cityscape of Play
A fanciful metropolis, Playmaze encourages a child’s imagination in a context-rich and integrated environment. This 1,500 sf city is designed specifically for children under six years of age. Scale, proportion, color, and form create a “mini-city” that is safe while encouraging independence, physical manipulation, and investigation; all of which are essential to a child’s development.

Using the urban context as a theme, children find their way through consistent streets of color, materials and floor textures that express boundary changes. When these switch, children are aware of a new zone or change in activity. Toddlers drive a replica of a city bus and sing-a-long inside. At the car wash, they use squeegees, change tires, and apply license plates. Wearing hard hats at the construction site, children use pulleys to move building blocks around. The bakery is fully stocked for cooking, selling, and even packaging. Exploring familiar places and everyday objects helps demystify daily experiences from which children are often sheltered. Incorporating role-play and adult interaction, this carefully planned environment helps children understand their place within the world that surrounds them.

Award:
Design of Understanding Award, American Institute of Graphic Arts, 1997.
Recognition of an exceptional sensorial, interactive and graphic environment.

Owner
:  Chicago Children’s Museum
Exhibit Design
:  Architecture Is Fun, Inc.
Location
:  Chicago/Illinois
Status
:  Completed 1996
Photography
:  © Doug Snower Photography