Katie Kelly, second-year Masters of Landscape Architecture student, was awarded the 2018 Steven G. King Play Environments Scholarship, an award from the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF).
The scholarship is given to students with an interest and aptitude in designing and integrating playgrounds into parks, schools and other environments. It also recognizes the following key qualities in the recipient: creativity, openness to innovation and an understanding of the important social values of play. Steven G. King, FASLA, revolutionized the playground industry by launching a concept and new industry that included the creation of modular composite play structures, which connected children and encouraged continuous play opportunities.
Katie's interest in designing play environments grew during Matthew Jull's research studio, Altered States: Experiments in Design for Extreme Cold Climates in September 2017 when she traveled to the remote villages of Alaska. After seeing the lack of viable outdoor play space, her final project for the studio culminated the design of a new school and environment in the village of Minto, Alaska, responding to the unique demands of the climate and culture.
Together with her project partners, Anna Morrison (MArch ‘19), and Yin Fong (MArch ‘19), they designed the project "The Minto School: Connecting Culture and Play." [see images below]
"The playground at the Minto school provides opportunities for both play and learning, using vernacular Athabascan structures, native plant species, and the surrounding landscape to reconnect Native Alaskan children to their lost cultural traditions. The building itself was oriented around the playground, giving it much needed south-facing light and using the building to shield it from strong northeast winds," described Katie.
Katie plans to pursue issues involving the loss of cultural heritage in Native Alaskan villages and the potential to connect and educate children through their play environments.