WBI in collaboration with ACS designs a playhouse for the 2016 PlayHouzz Competition

The popular home remodeling and design website, Houzz.com partnered with American Institute of Architects (AIA) for PlayHouzz 2016. PlayHouzz is a “charitable playhouse design contest and showcase open to the Houzz community.”

The winning designs will be constructed into to playhouses and provided to children in need throughout the United States. The design requirements for the playhouse were to be portable, 8 feet tall maximum by 7.5 feet wide by 8.5 feet long. Our WB Interiors (WBI) team included, Mallori Hamilton, Hannah Raharjo, and Amelia Kaywood; who teamed up with A Classical Studio (ACS) for the competition.

Our companies are currently working together on other projects, however we did not want to miss the opportunity to give back, specifically to children in need.

Amelia Kaywood, one of our Project Coordinators at WBI who has been with the our firm for two years, was excited when she learned about the opportunity to potentially help children but also to create a unique design for a non-typical project.

“David Grace [President of ACS] read about the PlayHouzz competition, and brought it to WBI for an unforgettable collaborative design project,” Amelia recalls. “It was an outlet for us to have a design challenge that we normally wouldn’t encounter. We design for adults, and it’s a completely different mindset when you’re designing for a child.”

As our team was developing the theme for the playhouse we interviewed coworkers’ children to see what they would be interested in. With the theme of the contest being “adventure” we asked the children, “What type of adventure would you go on?”

From the responses received, our goal was to create an innovative playhouse design that would enable children to be truly active, A Place for Imaginative Play. “Especially while children are still growing and developing; we felt it was important for the playhouse design to allow children to engage physically, but also to engage with their imaginations,” Amelia explains. “We also didn’t want to limit their imagination to one adventure, like designing a pirate theme and the only adventure they could imagine is being a pirate. We designed for the opportunity and freedom for children to create their own unique adventures.”

While designing the playhouse our team’s primary concern was not the competition, but the children who may eventually play within the playhouse. Since technology has become a staple in our lives, we created functionality within the design that would keep children coming back to the playhouse, encouraging them to turn off their devices, go outside and play. Every space has integrated multiple points of entry and exit, allowing each child to choose their own path. Tactile diversity is built into the design through the use of wood, rocks, sand, rope and turf. The designs mobility options includes: a slide that can be moved in and out, monkey bars, climbing walls and a swing; offering unlimited ways to play.

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“If you don’t invest in a child’s life as they’re growing up then what are you going to leave behind for them? Within society children are instructed what to do and how to do it; I believe anything that helps children broaden their imagination and encourages self awareness is really good for them,” Amelia states. “Today there are countless technological solutions to assist with everyday situations which has given younger generations many advantages. However inspiring youthful imagination only requires the opportunity for a child to go outside to play.”