Form vs Play [Sketch Up]


Understanding the relationship between form and function is a fundamental design skill that you will continue to develop over the course of your career.  Design as Charles Eames puts it is “A plan for arranging elements in such a way as to best accomplish a particular purpose.”

This project will engage your design skills as well as you sense of play, addressing your ability to form a dialogue with form and function in your design.  A children’s play area has been prescribed for the space provided.  You are to develop the spatial details according to the program of verbs provided as well as engage the conditions of the space appropriately.  This is a temporary installation and all developed materials need to be thoughtfully considered [How do they fit into the space?  How do they get into the space? How are the assembled?  How do they interact? Etc.].


Phase One of the project engages your introduction into the Sketch Up modelling space.  You will digitally modeling the space as it has been drawn including the development of windows, doors, etc.  The intention is to orient you to the modeling space without overwhelming you with the functions.

Phase Two will engage your design skills are sculpting the forms that engage the various verbs for the project.  You will develop these as a series of hand sketches [digital tools while effective at some tasks will never replace analogue communication techniques].  Once vetted, these designs will be modeled in Sketch Up.

Additional Content:


Climb           Crawl           Jump           Hide

Roll            Slide           Explore         Assemble


  1. Parents need to have access to their children in two forms: visual and physical. Keep this in mind as you design the spaces that you safety is a concern and should be thoughtfully considered.
  2. The architectural space needs to be engaged appropriately. How are windows and doors leveraged?  Daylight?
  3. In addition to the space engaging the children as individuals, it also needs to foster group activities. The designer is left to design these conditions.

Suggested Methods + Requirements:

  • While I will be providing digital support for the course via tutorials on the website, I will not be the only resource. Use the internet, ask questions, and share knowledge.
  • Manage your time, keep in mind this project will only last two and half weeks and there is an abundance of material to cover and diagrams to be constructed.
  • Required Drawings
    • Plan of proposed space
    • 2 Sections (North/South + East/West)
    • Axon/Iso showing space
    • Diagrams
      • View Diagram
      • Circulation Diagram
      • Component Matrix
    • Detail of a Component
      • Function/Form Diagram
      • Elevations + Plan view
    • Required Models
      • Paper folded model of one ‘component’ on a 6”x6” base (Model can be made by printing unfolded pattern and cutting and folding)

Media for Download:  Given Plans // Flattery Extension

Final Output Example (by Grace Twedt): GraceTwedt_FORMvsPLAY

For your use in developing the diagrams required for the assignment: