Client The Eastmark Great Park ® Orange Monster
Location Mesa, Arizona
Scope Innovative children’s play structure that would also serve as a sculpture

The Eastmark Great Park ® Orange Monster

Project Details

Westwood’s Role

  • Landscape Architecture
  • Art and 3-D modeling
  • Civil Engineering

Overview

The “Orange Monster” is a large urban art form, which doubles as a whimsical children’s play structure covering nearly one acre in The Eastmark Great Park ®. Its structure includes yard upon yard of bright orange steel piping covered with braided rope netting. Included are 10 slides, eight swings, and artfully-lit LED lighting for evening play.

Westwood was challenged to create a piece that would serve as a “sculpture to be played on,” versus a traditional playground piece. At first glance, it should resemble a large urban art piece, but would function as an innovative play structure. Westwood incorporated ideas from a sculpture in Wiesbaden Germany with ideas from a children’s design workshop to develop the Orange Monster.

End User Immersion: The Children

During the strategic planning and design phase, the Westwood and DMB Development teams tapped into the minds of children. Westwood embraced the idea that since children are the true end-users of park play structures, they should be involved in the design.

To support the sculpture and play structure concept, Westwood and the DMB Development team led a Children’s Design Workshop intended to push the limits on a child’s perspective of imaginative play. Nearly thirty children participated. Each was provided a Play Area Coloring Idea Book, which included images of more than 75 types of creative play equipment from around the world; all were sorted into categories that included slides, climbing, and other unusual structures. The children ranked the play ideas by circling smiling or frowning faces. The also shared their own design ideas, several of which inspired exceptional twists for The Orange Monster, including the addition of adjacent “O” rings, which would provide the illusion of the structure extending underground and into the surrounding park area at Eastmark.

Where Imagination Becomes Reality

When the workshop was complete, Westwood’s design team of landscape architects, planners, and engineers transferred the children’s ideas into buildable elements and created a themed environment for play. The Orange Monster was completed in 2014 and is enjoyed by Eastmark’s residents and the public as a major, forward-thinking park attraction.

This example reflects the philosophy behind all of Westwood designs, which is that the immersion of our clients, and often the end user, into the total design process leads to winning and lasting results.

See also:

Eastmark Overview
Eastmark Mass Grading
The Eastmark Great Park ® Master Plan
The Eastmark Great Park ® Palm Plaza and Splash Pad
The Eastmark Great Park ® Water Harvesting
The Eastmark Great Park ® Event Pavilion