2016 Inception Award | The Play of the Inbetween

Kenny Leung


A children’s playspace intervention



The Play of the Inbetween is a project about the manifestation of the children narrative and their perceptions of space. The idea, inspired from nos- talgia, challenges the current status of designed playground spaces as overbearing ‘nanny state’ interventions and instead proposes that playground spaces should be a more organic representation of a child’s inhibitions.


Situated in the Reading Cinemas building in Wel- lington CBD, the project repurposes the mid-2000’s building, from its crude commercial identity back into a community hub playspace, linking the wa- terfront with the cityscape and establishing a place where children are no longer alienated.


“I want to threshold that space”

This project of work examines the ideas around thresholds and threshold spaces and explores how they can help establish children’s narrative space. Thresholds, past the proverbial door of traditional understanding, represent changing paradigms; a ow of activity between points, a zone where an explosion of movement and entropy exists. It is a pure personi cation that is symbolic of a child and their narrative within architectural space. By con- textualising thresholds into a verb – a doing action, it inherently connotes the idea of movement in the body; yet importantly it can also perhaps engage the movement of the mind as well. In the sensual, and in particular the visual, the engagement of do- ing is usually visualised in the mind before the body take action. To threshold a space means to engage with a space with an ephemeral intention – to be reactive and critical. Thresholding a space is about creating unique states of the transient, not before or after but-the play of the in-between. They are spaces where people can:

Visualize — Move — Interact.


The process and design development behind this project mainly centered around creating a spatial condition that explored how to facilitating these three actions in the context of the site building. Upon re ection it was apparent that children nar- rative space needed to become more about the tangible assets of space rather than the intangible. Less about materials and light and more about the tactile functionality of forms as mediums of play. As a result, the project shifted towards a focus on the typology and tectonic resolution of the space rather than other qualities. Children see space, in the ide- al of thresholding as – How can i touch that? What can i touch? What can i touch next?

The nal tectonic resolution and design are an attempt to answer these questions, a representa- tion of space from a child’s perspective. The jun- gle-gym/lattice aesthetic within the context of the existing building’s verticality creates visualisation; the layout of the space and programme of a play- ground creates movement; the tectonic resolution and typology, a keen ability of interaction. Photo- shop collage, drawing and parametric modelling
all helped in the investigation of how to establish and represent children narrative space. The nal representational perspectives, recreated in a com- ic-book style, in a way are themselves a process of exploration for the design. They capture the es- sence of the project and it’s resolution, it’s idea of thresholding spaces, and the children narrative of perception.