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A Contemporary Terraced Playspace Celebrates Imagination

A young married couple requested architects Teresa Rosano and Luis Ibarra to redesign their older home on a Tucson, Arizona, hillside with the objective of bringing a sleek, modern aesthetic into the natural desert landscape. Years later, once the family had grown, the group returned to expand the home with a 900-square-foot children’s wing along with a 1,600-square-foot outdoor play area.

The hillside place presented an obstacle, though. The only area to place the play place was right where the hill dramatically dropped off. Rosano and Ibarra reacted to the rocky desert topography using sterile, horizontal lines and terracing the landscape into three levels to incorporate the border of the hill safely. The plan keeps the elegance of the house but is still all about having fun.

Since the rest of the home, that we profiled earlier, is so modern, the designers went for something more minimalist than the normal bulky plastic play structure (which wouldn’t have held up well to the harsh Arizona sun anyway).

The blue-green rubber play surface has cushioning that produces a safe landing spot for youngsters performing gymnastic tumbles. Additionally, it is easy to pull up, so the owners can swap in decking or grass after their children have outgrown the distance.

Ibarra Rosano Design Architects

The 1,600-square-foot area has multiple configurations for different sorts of play. The children can run, jump, climb and be imaginative.

There are 3 terraces that step down the hill. The highest is in the present home level and has a little herb garden and also a shaded canopy; the adults can enjoy the view into the city while keeping your eye on the youngsters. The grassy landscape on the next level offers room for active games.

Ibarra Rosano Design Architects

The lowest level comes with a recycled rubber play surface, a sandbox and a steel cube structure — perfect as a performance stage or makeshift playhouse.

Ibarra Rosano Design Architects

“We wanted the room to evolve,” says Rosano. “What a 3-year-old may want to do would be only temporary. We wanted to make a space which may grow with the family over time.”

Ibarra Rosano Design Architects

The designers fabricated the color block out of metal and galvanized steel stud monitors. But there is really no avoiding the heat in Arizona. While the metal is warm to the touch in sunlight, the heat dissipates more rapidly from this kind of material than from concrete or stone once the sun goes down.

Ibarra Rosano Design Architects

The plastered outer wall of the playscape improvement is in keeping with the modern lines of their house. It functions as a protective barrier to keep the children from drifting too far.

Get the full home tour A New Shower Leads to a Whole-House Remodel

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