The obvious lack of green spaces necessary for healthy development in children led Yahia Md Amin, Psychologist, Chairman of LifeSpring Limited, to create an indoor playground ‘Creative Kids’. Located on the 6th floor of Union Heights, Panthapath, Creative Kids is a children’s cognitive development center designed to promote children’s intellectual, social and physical growth. The vibrantly articulate vision for approx. 3800sqft commercial space was brought into fruition by the firm, Trikon Architects, with Shafique Rahman as the principal architect.
Constructed and designed in the minute time frame of 3 months, the design incorporates research and in-depth study to support the psychological, social, and behavioral appearance of urban growing-age kids from 3 to 10 years. Yahia Md Amin sharing the vision behind the center notes, “Mental illnesses have risen exponentially in recent times, and children are not exempt. The 15 psychologists and psychiatrists under LifeSpring are continually seeing and treating anxiety, depression, OCD, ADHD, among children. This is actually the reason behind the birth of Creative Kids. It is important not to ignore psychological illnesses in children because something that may have begun in mild treatable stages in a child, can eventually evolve into a perpetual disorder near impossible to cure completely.”
Shafique Rahman describing the nature of the project expressed, “There is a technological co-dependency that has become a commonplace among children, and with limited recreational activities being almost completely limited to just visiting restaurants, it is not hard to see why this is the case. This project offers an alternative approach to aid the psychological development of children. The thought process behind this work is that children are given the freedom to create their own stories, utilise their imaginations and build a path that is unique to them.”
Not an office or a residential space, but a project undertaken specifically for children, required an immense attention to detail. The centralized location is under a banyan tree which offers an open view of the entire area. The southern corner hosts the ‘Creative classroom’, an avant-garde learning space designed to encourage learning outside of the traditional classroom paradigm. Alongside the cave-like chambers adjacent to the wall feature multiple circular openings ideal to reap the benefits of the succession of bookcases supplied with dynamic and engaging reading material.
The murals themselves offer knowledge through a depiction of the solar system, a map of the planet, animals, among others. The harmoniously designed rich colour palette, materiality, surface, and texture permeating the space creates a unique experience, consistent with design and spatial storytelling.
To support the cognitive benefits generated from role playing, the eastern corner houses a miniature city, including a police station, hospital, café, pet shop, supermarket, and telephone booth.
A double-decker minibus is positioned next to the creative classroom, telling the tale of public transportation in Dhaka city. Additionally, a ‘climbing cave’ in the shape of a twisted hut in the southeast corner and a ‘fitness ford’ at the southwest corner offers children an opportunity to explore physical activity in departure from screen addiction. The northeast wing supports a party venue to host various celebrations of choice. The entrance lobby is organized into a waiting area and a small café which allows guardians to keep a watchful eye as adolescents are given free reign of exploration throughout the premises.
The lively melting pot of fantasy in such a welcoming environment simultaneously offers a much lacking recreational space just for kids, while stimulating healthy and imperative psychological development in children.