Portfolio - Current Projects - LifeLab Kids Foundation
LIFELAB KIDS FOUNDATION Project details
LifeLab Kids believes that Healthy Bodies = Active Minds. Working with the LifeLab Kids team, the Jason Alba Playpark was developed to allow for a benchmark of care for every neurodiverse child – combining mental health, physical health, and behavioral health aspects into an outdoor therapeutic environment. The playpark supports life skills, ‘therapy services’ in the natural environment, and offers a more controlled environment to increase time spent outdoors. The new playpark allows Lifelab Kids to serve and reach more students and families through not only one-on-one therapy, but groups, camps and more socialization with neurotypical kids. The Playpark provides space for a community, a ‘family,’ where kids don’t feel like they are coming to therapy.
The project goal was to create a safe and inviting environment, which would limit distractions associated with an urban setting. Understanding the variable spectrum of the students, the design team assessed the site for how to provide students with both sensory attraction and sensory-avoidance tendencies and the ability to focus during a therapy session. This was achieved by shielding the park from the main throughfare, providing landscape screening, creating alcoves dedicated to specific play/therapy functions, and enclosing the area with a decorative gate with additional landscaping to soften the edge.
All decisions on the design are tied back to the focus of providing therapy for the students. For example, the mural on the wall of the existing building is the product of an art therapy project, students drew their ideas for the mural, and these ideas were translated onto the walls. The walkways and pathways are laid out to teach life skills like the ability to safely navigate an urban setting. The tactile wall and pathways, which are part of the covered multi-sport court, were designed to offer different textures to traverse and feel, with therapists playing a role in the design.