Last Friday GreenWorks was delighted to host Design Museum Mornings: Nature Play in the City at the Center for Architecture in Portland’s Pearl District. Drawing an enthusiastic crowd of about fifty—everyone from early childhood education professionals and community organizers, to fellow landscape architects and nature play experts—the event included a fun social session with breakfast provided by GreenWorks followed by a comprehensive lecture on Westmoreland Nature-Based Play Area by GreenWorks’ Landscape Architect, Ben Johnson.
Ben, who has gained a reputation as a nature-based play specialist, began by sharing academic research on the subject, including the benefits of risky play and exposure to nature at a young age, before moving on to the vision and design process at Westmoreland. He outlined the successful Public Engagement process lead by Elizabeth Kennedy-Wong at Portland Parks and Recreation, who brought the community together early on to support the project and also described Adam Kuby’s role as the project Artist who had an integral role throughout the visioning and construction phases.
From the structural integrity of the massive logs and boulders, which are meant to encourage balance and climbing, to the carved stones which capture the journey of rain water, every detail of the space was carefully analyzed through multiple lenses including sustainability, safety, childhood development, and design.
GreenWorks had a fantastic time working with Design Museum Portland, a pop-up museum whose mission is to “educate the world about design,” and look forward to following their work around the city.