St Fagans National Museum of History

Green Play Project and the artist Nils Norman have helped create an innovative play area at St Fagans to encourage social, creative and sensory play. The site team were great to work with and provided creative solutions when working with the artist and the landscape architects. The play components reflect a number of items from the collections and sit well within the outdoor Museum setting. The playground is already well used and enjoyed by children and their families.

Liz Jones, Project Manager at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales

We were selected to build Artist Nils Norman‘s design for a new play area for St Fagans National Museum of History. Nils was given the task as part of the artist in residency programme at St Fagans which is funded by Arts Council of Wales and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The play area is situated alongside a new spine path running south from the new cafe to the woodland exhibits, the Museum stayed open while the work was ongoing.

Working alongside award winning Landscape Architects The Environment Practice (TEP) we used our knowledge of landscape construction, project management and play design to deliver this exciting project.

The traditional Pub signs were created from timber in our workshop. The bracket was hand forged from steel by our team to match the concept design of Nils Norman. The sign was printed from a sketch onto alu panel which makes them weather resistant.

Children always want to explore spaces; get up high, go underneath. This allows them the thrill of being able to explore places that children can reach easily but that adults would find difficult or perhaps even where they are not normally allowed to be.

Constructions works involved complex and sensitive groundworks around the large root system of a mature oak tree. Using specialist machinery and working closely with an arboricultural consultant we were able to protect this important specimen. We were able to ensure it’s long term growth by using root amelioration techniques.

The principle structure is a timber framed building based on the patterns seen in houses at the Museum from which four swings are suspended making it possible for 4 people to swing at the same time with our meeting in the middle. The structure sits on custom made galvanised steel shoes to prevent the timbers rotting and the frame is jointed using a traditionally pegged mortice and tenon joints. The seats have a safety bar at the front to ensure safe swinging when facing forwards.

The fallen Oak Log was shaped and sanded to remove any rough areas which allowed it to conform to safety regulations whilst keeping its natural appearance.

Traditional cedar shingle roofs are used on the lower roof structures that allow children to climb in a challenging way on a natural material. A stainless steel side is accessed from a platform.

The Roof Rafters and Gables climbing frame is constructed from round pole timber notched and bolted together. Children always want to explore spaces; get up high, go underneath. This allows them the thrill of being able to explore places that children can reach easily but that adults would find difficult or perhaps even where they are not normally allowed to be. Custom made nets allow access onto and over the rafters

The waste bin was designed and built specifically for the playground and promotes recycling by having a separate section for recyclable items. Accessed through lockable doors for staff to empty the metal waste bins. The signage was laser cut from stainless steel.