Playtime has never been as serious as in the design for Sembawang Park’s new children’s playground. – Words Asih Jenie
Located on the northern coastline overlooking the Johor Straits between Singapore and Malaysia, Sembawang Park’s charm comes from its relative seclusion from the urban bustle, not to mention its strong ties with Singapore’s naval history. It boasts a beautiful beach—one of few natural beaches in Singapore—and several colonial structures that stand in pristine condition. The park is also a neighbor to the Sembawang Shipyard, a commercial dockyard that served as a British naval base from 1938 to 1968. Drawing inspiration from this heritage, playground specialist Playpoint has designed a customized play structure in memory of the HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse—two British battleships that sank defending the island from Japanese attack in 1941—that delights both children and adults.
Playpoint scaled, simplified and divided a mock battleship into five abstract sections that represent the stern, rear deck, bridge, front deck and bow. Located inside a large sandpit, the ship is made with galvanized steel and wooden planks, its layout alternating between open and closed patterns to create a varied and exciting space to explore. Children are invited into the vessel by climbing up a rope ladder, scaling a rock wall and crawling through an escape hatch on the side of the ship. It also comes with sets of gun turrets, propellers, smoke stacks and even a rudder. Onboard the ship, kids are challenged to navigate the space and decide where to go next, how to maneuver their way to the top of the sloping deck and how to slide back down into the sand. Fun and exercise aside, Playpoint claims the structure allows children to develop their imagination and stimulate their ability to make decisions.