We returned to Goose Green Primary School this year, on two occasions, to make their playground greener and safer.
The primary goal was to replace lots of the crumbling old carpentry, including a bridge and tunnel much beloved by the children, but now unsafe and in need of total reconstruction.
Our schedule managed to coincide with a remarkable heat wave in London, which actually made working practically impossible for a day.
We learned about the pros and cons of working with recycled plastic structures, which the client preferred for its longevity and the potential to smooth corners, versus timber. But in the heat it started to get elastic and very hard to work with. We also found that cutting it was extremely unpleasant, generating huge amounts of plastic shavings that were impossible to totally capture, thus ending up going down drains.
We are all for re-using plastic, but we feel this material should not be customised on site. There was a lot of cutting to shape we had to do, and working with pine or hardwoods would have been much simpler and more eco-friendly. In any case, those structures will now last several decades, providing robust play structures in a greener playground.