Opinmäki Campus playground

Espoo FI

Type Commission
Team Esa Ruskeepää Architects Ltd. (main consultant)
Role Consultant for landscape
Client City of Espoo
Size 30,000 m2 (37,000m2)
Project Start 2012
Status Completed 2015


Adults, teenagers and young children experience the world differently, and a playground design can meet the needs of all age groups. Stimulate imagination and it generates ideas and activities.


Opinmäki is a large campus with a daycare centre, a comprehensive school and an English international school. It also houses a local culture and sportscentre and is open to locals afterschool, where hobby communities use outdoor and indoor facilities. In other words, a truly diverse group of people uses the campus area.

Opinmäki campus playground kids playing

A playground that encourages the imagination

The daycare centre and schools serve up to 1000 students and children, so the key focusforthe project was to create spaces for different age groups of children to feel at home and develop according to their age.

Instead of dividing the space, our approach to the schoolyard design was to keep it open and flexible with non-figurative furniture that appeals to all age groups and uses.

Opinmäki campus playground forest trees
Opinmäki campus playground kids

Openness and abstraction generate games and activities

With coherent designs, we evoke a sense of playfulness that inspires children to create stories. Abstract shapes stimulate the imagination and create the setting for endless play scenarios. In one, a group of freestanding tree trunks is a magical forest.

Small children use the low asphalt hills with white stripes to run around and over in a game. Teenagers step it up, bike around the asphalt hills and use them for skating.

Opinmäki campus playground kids
Opinmäki playing kids biking
Opinmäki playing field kids running

Brightly coloured oases on a large asphalt surface let the groups of children play alongside each other and the white stripes create a flow between and around the elements. Trees and bushes give shelter to the

oases and help to visually divide the space. In a schoolyard with no fences and division of the age groups, the children take the initiative to meet and play without being organised by teachers.

Opinmäki playground kids playing

Sustainable flexibility

Through user involvement, we got a clear idea of not only the needs of the children in school and daycare but also the more general needs of the neighbourhood. Non-figurative elements secure versatility and the

adaptability of a flexible design creates a sustainable and durable architecture where the oases can be replaced individually, ensuring a longer lifespan for the schoolyard as a whole.

Opinmäki campus playground