Learning through play and discovery

Sunday 30 Oct 2011

Museum a 'beacon' for children utilizing toy-box colours and shapes

Located in al Hussein Park in Amman, Jordan and completed in May of 2007, the Children's Museum has become a beacon for children all over the region and country, utilizing basic colours and shapes found in every child's toy box to attract its target user to learn through play and discovery.

Colourful elements are integrated within the building, forming its key features, such as: the nine cubes at the entrance with Arabic letters spelling out the word 'Children's Museum'; the sphere of the planetarium; the substation room; handrails; tiling, etc. But the main feature is the three coloured blocks of the exhibit hall, which identify the building as one dedicated for children, transforming it into an exhibit - not just a container - connecting internal and external spaces, and assisting in orientation, in addition to other structural and mechanical roles.

Building materials were also treated as an educational medium by employing them to demonstrate the method of construction and the different uses, forms, textures, colours, etc. that can be attained, always using local technologies and available resources.

Concrete, being the major building material, was used in most walls with different textures, smooth and rough, especially in curved walls due to its fluid and mouldable qualities. The texture was achieved by sand blasting the formwork wood panels, thus accentuating the wood grain and texture, leaving a visible impression on the face of the walls.

Children also contributed to the design of the building by portraying their visions of the characteristics of the twelve governerates of Jordan onto twelve polymer concrete panels. They created mosaics which were fixed onto the main façade, thus becoming yet another attraction for children - made by children.

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