Extraordinary Playscapes • Exhibit through December 17


October 6, 2016
10/6/16 10:00 am - 12/17/16 7:00 pm


2016-10-0610:00:00 2016-10-0619:00:00 Extraordinary Playscapes • Exhibit through December 17 Hours: Everyday from 9am – 8pm   This national exhibition and education program explores the latest thinking in playground design while presenting ... Pacific Northwest College of Art 511 NW Broadway Portland, OR 97209 Design Museum Portland info@designmuseumportland.org

Hours: Everyday from 9am – 8pm


This national exhibition and education program explores the latest thinking in playground design while presenting how vital free play is to childhood development, thriving communities, and social equity.

What we learn through play impacts our physical, mental, social, and creative health — and designers, architects, and play advocates are taking notice. Extraordinary Playscapes examines the art, history, science, and importance of play, while telling the story behind some of the most incredible play spaces in the world.  Featuring over 40 international playgrounds, drawings, sketches, videos, scale models, and playable installations, the interactive exhibition examines the importance of play and the latest thinking in playground design. From towering treetop paths to hand-knit crochet playgrounds, visitors will discover how architects and designers worldwide are engaging diverse communities to translate play objectives into state-of-the-art and meaningful environments.

Playground Passport:

Explore Portland playgrounds this summer with our interactive Playground Passport!

Along with the public exhibition, we’re taking the program right to your local playgrounds. Design Museum Portland kiosks will highlight and tell the story behind some of Portland’s most amazing playgrounds: who designed it, what strategies it is using, and more. Pick up a playground passport at the exhibition or a participating playground and take the tour this summer.

Public Events:

Extraordinary Playscapes will incorporate interactive experiences, educational programming, talks, and children’s workshops throughout the fall.


Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for PlayForm 7

Sept 26th, 2016, 4:30-5:30pm

PNCA – 511 NW Broadway

To kick off Extraordinary Playscapes in Portland, a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Portland Parks & Recreation Commissioner Amanda Fritz, Parks Director Mike Abbaté, and Playworld’s Missy Benson will be held at the PlayForm 7 installation. 

Playworld, a leading commercial playground equipment manufacturer committed to saving outdoor unstructured play, demonstrates a shift in playground design with PlayForm 7 — a design meant to get people thinking, talking, sharing ideas and engaging in outdoor spaces in new and meaningful ways. The play sculpture can easily become a focal point of any park, helping to make an impactful statement in any community.

Extraordinary Playscapes Opening Reception  

Oct 6th, 2016, 5:00 – 8:00pm

PNCA – 511 NW Broadway

Grand opening of Extraordinary Playscapes will take place during First Thursday in the Pearl! Come up to the sky-lit Gallery level of PNCA on Oct 6. We’ll have food, drinks, and a brand new exhibition to unveil to you! Case studies, playable elements, and hands-on experiences are all part of this exhibition about the importance, the science, and the design of Play.

RSVP here!

Members-only: Meet Exhibition Curator, Amanda Hawkins, who will lead a private tour of the Extraordinary Playscapes exhibition exclusive to Design Museum Portland members – Oct 6 at 4:00pm in advance of the public opening. Not a Member yet? Join here!

Curator’s Public Tours: Available upon request. Free and open to the public, groups are welcome.

Film Screening: The Land –  October 20 at PNCA’s Mediatheque

Kids Design Days: Pop-Up Adventure Playground Nov 6 at Playform 7

UNITE: How Portland Does Play –  November 17 at PNCA’s Mediatheque

Exhibition Preview:

Wild Walk, Chip Reay and The Wild Center
Tupper Lake, NY
Courtesy of the Wild Center

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PlayForm7, Playworld Inc
Courtesy of Playworld

Espanade 11 copy
Esplanade Playspace, Halvorson Design Partnership
Boston, MA
Courtesy of Halvorson Design Partnership

Takino Rainbow Nest, Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam
Takino, Japan
Courtesy of Interplay Design

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Maggie Daley Park, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates
Chicago, IL
Courtesy of MVVA

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Ambulance Playground, Super Local
Beit CURE Hospital, Malawi, Africa
Courtesy of Super Local