Congratulations to Mahan Rykiel Associates on their Honor Award in the Design-Unbuilt category for their for Bennett’s Village, an all-abilities playground in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The design intent of Bennett’s Village project is a multi-generational, all abilities playground that is fun, safe, and beautiful, advancing community-wide understanding about inclusivity, open space, nature, and play.
The design team worked collaboratively with families, stakeholders and subject matter experts to develop a park and playground design that reflects the richness of all abilities. The plan presents a wide array of all abilities experiences organized around a central loop that supports safety, exploration, discovery, and community in a fun and beautiful environment, changing the perception of all abilities’ open space.
The carefully calibrated design, wide range of feature elements, and flexible programming spaces create an environment to engage visitors throughout the seasons.
The design encourages social engagement by introducing elements that require two or more users to play together, with play equipment and spaces that present opportunities for building relationships and confidence.
Jurors appreciated the playful presentation that fit the project design. They were impressed by the sensory gardens, and made special mention of the expansive, inclusive idea of play that the design brings to the foreground.