Author: Chi Thukral
We see 3D-printed architecture all the time now, but then Czech Republic-based organization Buřinka thought outside the box and literally took 3D printing outside to create a parkour playground! The 3D-printed parkour playground is the first of its kind constructed from recycled concrete and other eco-friendly construction materials. Parkour is the activity or sport of moving rapidly through an area, typically in an urban environment, negotiating obstacles by running, jumping, and climbing so the structure was made to be durable and resistant to urban climate.
The playground, which is designed by Buřinka architect Daniel Samek, is set to open at the end of September 2021 and will be included in the new leisure area at Kupecký Elementary School in Prague. Samek said he was drawn to the project for its accessibility, as parkour doesn’t require any expensive equipment and can be enjoyed by both children and adults. “The playground that is now being created is unique in that it works with rounded shapes,” said the architect. “It brings a revival to parkour.”
In an industry facing many challenges, such as worker shortages and rising building materials, Buřinka maintains that robotics and 3D printing could provide necessary solutions among Czech construction companies. “Housing does not mean just four walls,” said Libor Vošický, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Buřinka. “It is also essential to have a possibility to spend free time outdoors, safely, close to home. There are many playgrounds for preschoolers, but older children don’t have many options, so we decided to use innovative 3D printing technology to create a parkour playground. At the same time, we want to confirm the benefits of using recycled concrete called rebetong. It is another milestone in the use of this innovative technology.”
Finally, someone is using 3D-printed concrete to make something other than houses! As I began my research on this topic, it quickly became clear that the vast majority of exploration with the technology was focused application in housing structures (and occasionally furniture). This stand out as one of the most unique uses large-scale additive construction I have seen to date. It varies in that it is a public space, in is meant to be interacted with a certain way, facilitating activities. It presents opportunities for modularity and is a scale that could be replicated in many other public areas. This article left me with the question, “What other ways can I imagine concrete 3D forms facilitating public activity or interaction?”