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Toy as Architecture, Architecture as Toy

Updated: Jan 18, 2020

Fairyland Playscape by Groundwork Architecture:

In 2016, Groundwork Architecture, Hong Kong embarked on an extensive research on Playgrounds for the Hong Kong Government. They began exploring where this new knowledge would take them. Toy as Architecture, Architecture as Toy, is a series of project where they test the boundaries that separates architecture and play.

Picture courtesy : Groundwork Architects

Inspired by the “Journey to the West”, a Chinese classic literature about the adventures of the legendary Monkey King Groundwork decided to bring “Yushan” – the Jade Mountain, the ethereal palace from Chinese mythologies – into our world, so that we may become monkeys again.

Most visitors would tell them that they loved how the space gelled with the music composed by Eugene Leung as well as the lighting; the lighting effect, which was quite important for the experience and the aesthetics of the “toy”.

Picture courtesy : Groundwork Architects

Fairyland Playscape is an explorative, jumping gym platform where people get to explore the value of a hands-on explorative adventure.

Fairyland Playscape demonstrates a progressive approach to architecture and design in many ways: they design is an optical illusion for the guests, guests interacting with the landscape will have to take risks; they even developed a set of play instructions as a starting guideline.

Picture courtesy : Groundwork Architects


1. This is a piece of art and architecture; the entire space constitutes the “toy”

2. This is an abstract art that wishes to inspire. Participant also become part of the artwork.

3. This space is all about taking risks, because challenges can be fun.

4. The structure is bouncier and harder to climb than you think, please be careful!

5. For the best play experience, go bare foot! You may store your shoes within the shoe racks.

Groundwork was commissioned by K11, a shopping mall in greater China, because they learned that Groundwork had conducted an 18-month study on existing Hong Kong Playgrounds for the Hong Kong Groundwork. K11 has a long traditional of working with up and coming local and international artists and they felt that our research might have great potential to be translated into a playable art piece. The more architects at Groundwork were engaged with children, the more they have realised how architecture should allow children to explore the world.

Toys are exploratory apparatus for children, they are very important for kids’ development, thus can architecture be more exploratory?

Project: Fairlyland Playscape

Firm: Groundwork Architects

Location: Hong Kong, China

Founding Architect: Manfred Yuen

Gallery :

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