"'There is a multilevel space,' [architect David] Rockwell told me," Rebecca Mead writes in the July 5 New Yorker in an article on innovative playground designs. "He gestured to a raised walkway that resembled a Möbius strip."
That caught my attention. I knew of a climber based on a three-dimensional analog of a Möbius strip at a playground in Florida, a Möbius-strip jungle gym at the Burning Man festival, even a Möbius-strip bench in a California shopping mall. Was Manhattan joining the group?
Rockwell's "multilevel space" is a key feature of the Imagination Playground at Burling Slip, now nearing completion in the South Sea Seaport area of New York City. Designed by David Rockwell of Rockwell Group, the new playground occupies a former boat slip, then parking lot.
My examination of plans for the playground revealed, alas, not a true Möbius strip, with its one side and one edge, but a more conventional figure-8 configuration, with elevated portions.
Design for Imagination Playground at Burling Slip. Courtesy of Rockwell Group.
Nonetheless, the playground has intriguing features that reflect its maritime setting. A two-level sandpit and a pool with running water are surrounded by wooden walkways resembling a boat's deck. Ropes and pulleys hang from four masts. A 16-foot tower has the form of a ship's crow's nest.
The Imagination Playground will also have hundreds of "loose parts": large, lightweight components made of molded foam: geometric forms from which children of all ages can build the structures of their dreams.