Pinelodge Holidays sought to enhance the appeal of Landal Darwin Forest Country Park to families with pre-school children and to holidaymakers who take midweek holidays out of season. The brief was to build the best play centre of its kind for miles around and to incorporate a well equipped kitchen capable of serving a range of food appealing to all ages. Pinelog’s design was for an imaginative, sustainable and energy efficient building to complement the Evolution Health and Fitness Leisure Centre already on the site.
Little Monkeys Play centre is a distinctive arrowhead shaped building, which when viewed from within the park appears to be single storey, in fact rises to an apex 9 meres high. This allows children the thrill of launching onto the double helix spiral slides and other apparatus from a great height.
The entire structure is timber framed comprising glulam timber posts, beams and purlins. It has three distinct rooflines each of which follow the steeply sloping line of the play frame. The insulated metal composite roof panels are ribbed and coated grey on the outside and smooth and white on the inside to contrast with the exposed timber beams. Glazed pods are positioned over key points in the building to add natural light. Externally the walls are clad in cream rendered panels and Siberian larch. A sophisticated environmental management system uses natural cross flow ventilation, drawing in fresh air from high level vents, which is supplemented by low energy air conditioning. Underfloor heating keeps the building and children’s feet warm as they have to discard their shoes before entering the play area. The octagonal reception desk is the hub of the building and is positioned so that every function can be easily monitored. Brightly coloured materials are used throughout.