The most memorable childhood toys aren’t usually very sophisticated, high-tech, or used in the way they were designed to be used. Successful toys are a tool for the imagination. A cardboard box is a tool because it can be manipulated, rotated, it can house something within its volume, and its simplicity lends itself to take on many different meanings.
When our team of designers was asked to design a child’s playhouse for the Scottish Rite Hospital we chose to focus on the imagination and childhood activities, instead of designing a playhouse that carried a strong architectural theme.
The activities became the program of the playhouse; climbing, driving, sliding, cooking, peek-a-boo, game playing, crawling, etc. The theme of the house stems from the animated movie Ratatouille, the popular board game Mouse Trap, as well as other childhood tales.
The overall design resembles a block of cheese. Ordinary design elements like windows, a table and chairs, a front door, and walls were designed to encourage the imagination, play, and activities. The windows are circular holes in the cheese, the door is a mouse silhouette, the table and chairs are a spool of thread and chef hats. One can slide through, climb, crawl through, and look out the walls.
The final product was delivered to Highland Park Village where the auction to benefit Texas Scottish Rite Hospital was held. By the end of the night, our playhouse had raised $2,300! The next week, the “big cheese” was lifted by crane into the winning bidders’ back yard which, we’ve been told, has since become the neighborhood hang out! In total the playhouse raised over $5,000 in material and monetary donations. Volunteers from BECK and HKS donated their time and expertise to design and build the playhouse. Sherwin-Williams, Reid-Cooper, Carnegie Textiles, Mannington Commercial, Playset Parts, Southwestern Blueprint also contributed donations.”
Ratatouille, Mickey Mouse, Jerry, Stuart Little, Fievel, and the Rescuers would all be proud to call this house a home.
Click on the link below for more photos.