• News
  • People
  • Long Read
  • Opinion
  • Weekend Wrap

Breaking News

Helsinki builds the world's first computer-themed playground

The playground's main play equipment will portray a computer processor.

Illustration by Monstrum

The City of Helsinki is transforming Playground Ruoholahti into what it believes is the first computer-themed playground in the world.

The aim of the new playground, set to open in September 2024, is to let children learn about computers and programming through play. The special play equipment is designed and realised according to the ideas of author and illustrator Linda Liukas. Liukas is renowned for her coding books for children and for founding Rails Girls, a global movement to teach programming to young women.

At the heart of the park will be a two-part tower that depicts a computer processor and offers climbing and sliding activities. The playground will be primarily targeted for children from daycare age to sixth graders. Still, older visitors have also been considered in its design.

The project has been developed in close collaboration with Näkymä Landscape Architects, City of Helsinki specialists and naturally current and future playground users.

Helsinki hopes the new playground will be used as a learning environment by instructors and teachers.

Markus Sommers

The playground's special play equipment will be supplied by the award-winning Danish company Monstrum. These will include a game controller-shaped sandbox, computer-themed spring rockers and a platform shaped like a phone screen. All other play equipment, furniture and surface materials in the park will also be linked to the theme through the colour scheme, design language and signs used. Monstrum won the contract in a tendering competition.

“We are extremely happy that we get to co-operate with an esteemed play equipment company like Monstrum on Helsinki's first themed playground,” said Hanna Harris, design director at the City of Helsinki. “Our aim is to realise a special place where both local and visiting children can learn through play.”

The playground's redesign is not limited to play equipment. The project encompasses the renewal of plants, fences and light fixtures in a complete park overhaul. The Ruoholahti playground was first opened in 1994 and covers approximately 0.75 hectares.

The Ruoholahti project is the first pilot project in a series of themed playgrounds Helsinki aims to build in the future.

By: Eeva Haaramo