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Metropolia Residence: А playground for children with art objects by architectural studio UTRO

Project name:
Metropolia Residence
Architecture firm:
UTRO Studio
Moscow, Russia
Daniil Annenkov
Principal architect:
Marina Yarmarkina, Alyona Zaitseva
Design team:
Anastasia Popova, Olga Rokal, Margarita Leonova, Daria Dordina, Dina Leonova, Akhror Salidzhanov, Natalia Zhernakova, Denis Kochanov
Masha Somik, artist and author of the drawings on the playground
Built area:
1521 m²
Site area:
1521 m²
Design year:
Completion year:
Studio “Kultura Sveta”
UTRO Studio
Tools used:
AutoCAD, SketchUp
MR Group
Residential Landscaping, Playground

The Metropolia residential development is a large-scale project by MR Group. A team from the architectural studio UTRO was invited to develop the concept for the landscaping of the project. The main task was to fill the area with natural elements and create a special space for children with art objects designed by Maria Somik, a Moscow artist.

UTRO architects managed to create a playground that has no other equivalent in Russia. Playful art objects were designed and drawn exclusively for the Metropolia project. Altogether ten art objects were created on the basis of drawings. As for functionality, the area turned out to be diverse and interesting for children of all ages.

The objective of such space for children is to develop an infant in the process of playing. If he or she plays with familiar elements like cars, castles, and ships, his or her imagination will work within the framework of a given theme. He or she uses the similar play scenarios day after day, for example, traveling on a ship. But if spaces for kids don't offer ready-made scenarios, infants would interact with abstract details which will better develop their imagination. They make up their own games depending on their moods, they don't think by instructions, and the whole process becomes more engaging.

"It's good when spaces for children have a character that their imagination can latch onto, not necessarily a particular one. Kids build their worlds from it. They don't need instructions on how to play," says Olga Rokal, architect and partner at architectural studio UTRO. — We decided to involve an artist, who came up with the abstract picture and the architects transferred it into reality.

Masha Somik is a Moscow artist who creates works in the spirit of abstractionism. Her drawings have been exhibited in Russia, England and the Netherlands. The artist first created sketches of the figures, and the architects of the studio turned them into three-dimensional play elements and a fence pattern. The figures can resemble plants or natural landscapes, or they can be rockets. There are countless game scenarios that can be implemented on these objects.

"It always impresses me as an artist when you see in reality what you designed on flat paper. And while I was doing some sketching, I was thinking about how this project would bring joy to children every day," — Masha Somik, artist and author of the drawings.

The UTRO team put a lot of emphasis on the landscape of the playground - it became a separate play element. Thanks to the different elevations, children can run, jump from bump to bump, and hide behind hills. While the children are playing, parents can comfortably spend time nearby: there are long benches in the shade of trees around the perimeter of the playground, and a large canopy protecting from the sun near the sandbox.

By Liliana Alvarez

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