An My playground
After the space organization plan was agreed with the people and local authorities through Charrette, the architect team 1+1>2 was given the task of detailed design. Supporting the architects are the Action Center for Urban Development staff, ward officials, and volunteers. We spread out across the playgrounds in Hoi An and Da Nang, taking notes, consulting children and parents, observing how they played. Many times we forget we are working, because we also "enter the game". In the end, the design was presented to the children and parents. The number of games on the field was not enough for the children, and the architect constantly had to adjust the design so that the children had the most ways to play: climbing, seesaws, swings, crawls and crawls through tunnels, balances, slides, even boxing. The children's parents were concerned about safety, and as a result, the "eco and poetic" thatched roof of Group 1+1>2 was "replaced" by a metal roof to ensure that it would not be blown off during the storm season. Architects now have to listen patiently and find a reasonable solution to the wishes of both groups: children want to play a lot of risky games and parents only want safe games. Keeping children happy and keeping their parents happy is a big challenge for Teams 1+1>2.
Fortunately, we did not have much time pressure, so the negotiations continued until all parties were satisfied. Architects spend a lot of time meeting, talking, conciliating and negotiating. Instead of desks in the office, we work in the cafeteria, the school yard, the cultural hall, even on the field (because the people in this area are farming). The key issue is trust "the playing field of the community, so their voices must be respected".
If you go to the construction site, you do not distinguish who is an architect, who is a group of construction workers, who is a community supervisory board, they constantly change places. The community supervision board joined the group of workers, some leveled the floor, some built bamboo poles, some tied the floorboards. The group of construction workers gave suggestions to improve the quality, while the architect "muddy hands and feet" said and did. In particular, children often visit the construction site and discuss enthusiastically. Every day, the construction site is more and more crowded, and gradually, the community completely replaces the group of workers. Near the inauguration day, the whole community came out to the yard: children shoveling sand, women pulling weeds, men planting trees and building fences. Labor costs are decreasing, but total costs are increasing because the community "donates" more items. It seems that this "excursion" has no end. Many unimaginable challenges occurred. The first is the fact that children constantly try to break into the playground even though the construction site is under construction. They couldn't wait until the building was inaugurated, and so we had to increase our protection.
Next is to ensure the participation of the community but does not affect the construction progress. Community members are eager to contribute their labor, but they are also very busy. How to "leave" parts such as leveling the floor, tying bamboo, making fences, planting trees for the community, while still coordinating with other groups of workers. Team 1+1>2 has learned to work leisurely, but still ensure the overall progress of the project.
The biggest headache is finding ways to maintain the playground in a sustainable way. Many initiatives were launched, such as a community fund spending 2-3 million VND/year, fundraising from local businesses, and asking for funding from wards and cities. The most creative is the option to invite a resident next to the playground to open a restaurant, serving on the spot for guests to come and play, especially for parents. A part of the revenue from the pub will be used for the maintenance of the playground, and especially the owner's interests are associated with the well-functioning playground. From start to finish, the An My playground project is always surprised by the constant creativity of the people, the 1+1 >2 Architects Group and all the participants.
An My Playground is the first model and will be a model for the renovation and construction of playgrounds and public areas in Hoi An as well as many cities across the country, towards the goal of promoting participation. community into the development of public and open spaces.