E&LP was one of over 40 competition entries at the Infill Philadelphia Play Space Design Awards Exhibition. Our project entry, Storylines: A Neighborhood Hub for Knowledge, Culture, and Play, is an ambitious master plan for the Blanche A. Nixon/Cobbs Creek Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia.
Our design seeks to re-establish the library as a valued community hub by activating its outdoor spaces with playful amenities that stimulate discovery, literacy and community pride. The structure of our reimagined space is defined by three “storylines” or thematic paths that narrate interesting and positive stories about the Cobbs Creek neighborhood. The themes explored include: Local History, Changing Technology, and The Ecology of the Cobbs Creek watershed. These stories are told through the materials in the landscape and employ both signage and augmented reality to engage users and promote literacy. The Storylines define the boundaries of several distinct flexible spaces, which can accommodate simultaneous user groups in a variety of activities. The central feature of the space is a series of playful, interactive sculptures that evoke Cobbs Creek’s history of mill-driven power.
Organized by the Community Design Collaborative (CDC), DVAEYC, and other partners the Play Space design competition was a unique and thought provoking opportunity to explore the role of play in public space. The exhibition was a rousing success of ideas and positive energy around this important subject. Following the exhibition, the competition will be featured in Grid Magazine and the display boards will be relocated to City Hall in Philadelphia in the coming months for further public consumption. In the meantime our competition entry and others on display can be viewed on the CDC’s website here. A photo album of the event is also available from the CDC.