Head in the Clouds

Galactic play cloud structures have arisen in the city of Istanbul. They are the iconic landmarks of a new open air playground on the roof park of Marmara Forum, a shopping centre in the Bakirköy district. Carve, a Dutch Architect’s practice, was asked to make a design for the playground on the rooftop terrace of Marmara Forum, 24 metres above street level.

© Carve_Marmara Forum_photo_playdium-Asli Dayioglu (01)
The new playground on the rooftop terrace of Marmara Forum, 24 metres above street level. © Carve

The given assignment was to design a high profile playground, fitting to the renewed shopping centre. Children should be able to play in the shade if the weather is warm and sunny, and play under a shelter when it’s raining. In commercial areas and terraces often only limited space is available. This conflicts with the high number of children that visit these types of playgrounds, especially during peak hours. For that reason one of the starting points was to think in tall structures with big volumes, fully playable from the inside.

The playground consists of four areas that cater for different age groups: from small to tall there is a toddler space, a climbing dome, a larger ensemble of spheres and a near eight metre tall climbing tower with an internal slide. The interior of the clouds is completely furnished with play elements: children can climb, slide, lounge in a forest of hammocks and experience height from behind a window looking at the city’s skyline or by looking down through the climbing nets.

Technical Challenges

There were many technical challenges during the design and engineering process. For example considering the size of in particular the largest eight metre tall construction and the load limits of the existing roof. This issue was creatively solved by designing a self-supporting structure on top of a constructive point, spreading the loads at the same time. The spheres of all of the play clouds together are constructed out of hexagonal and pentagonal panels, 275 different panels in total. Local craftsmen produced, assembled and installed the double curved stainless steel panels.

Head in the clouds

Looking up from street level 24 metres, one can see the sun glitter on the play clouds. At night the clouds, with white light radiating from behind the window frames, are a beacon that can be seen from the surrounding areas of Marmara Forum, making an intriguing spectacle of lights. If it wasn’t for the current lockdown of all playgrounds in Turkey, the children of Istanbul would certainly have already occupied this place to get their heads in the clouds.

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Cloud playground
Date of design: 2019-2020
Date of completion: May 2020
Client Carve: Playdium
Manufacturer: Playdium
Main Client: Multi (turkey)
Location: Marmara Forum Shopping Centre, Istanbul
Size: 400 m2
Photography: Asli Dayioglu