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Prototype Design Centre for childrens toys and Play school, Mutwal

Part 2 Project 2010
Chiranthi Warusuwitharana
City School of Architecture, Sri Lanka
The project is a wooden toy prototype manufacturing and development facility for a leading toy manufacturing company based in Sri Lanka.

The biggest challenge the industry faces is that it is entirely dependent on global markets and foreign buyers. The current prevailing world economic crisis has heavily reduced the profits of the company, forcing them to diversify their business. Tapping in to small scale, local niche markets, and making their product more appealing to the local consumer would provide them the stability, ensuring their survival.

Developing the design aspects of the product would have a huge impact on attracting new groups of local consumers. The problem of the wooden toy being as not as competitive as the cheap imported plastic toy could be overcome by creating a “wooden toy culture” that relates to urban life in Mutwal. The project acts as a catalyst to activate existing dead spaces in the area.

The project consists of two user components. One being the company’s interest in creating a prototype design facility,while the “place” acts as a vessel to market and popularize the wooden toys.
The other, being the public component, which would benefit from the educational programme implemented through the activities of the “play school”. The play school is an interpretation of CSR (corporate social responsibility) and has been identified as part of the company’s day to day functions. The “play hub” project becomes a place where the company directly interacts with the public with the intention of creating a stronger bond with the consumer. It is also an opportunity for the company to create a new public image for themselves. The co- existence between the “company” and the “public” is manifested into the activity of the main space- “Toy Library”. It is the space which celebrates the act of play, childhood and animates both the young and the old,created in the belief that “toys are the greatest inspiration". People never really grow up,they just become bigger adult bodies and they really want to continue to play.

Chiranthi Warusuwitharana


Project attempts to reinterpret and expand the function of a Toy factory in a developing country such as Sri Lanka, of which the present function is predominantly to produce toys for export.

The student has attempted to provide architectural meaning to both the ‘process’ and the ‘image’ of programme.
As for the process, the student has investigated ways of architecturally interpreting the term ‘Learn while you play’. Here the learning is for both the children and adults (toy designers and manufacturers). Integration / separation of play areas for children and work areas for the toy designers throughout the internal spatial progression provides meaning to the process.
A ‘biomorphic’ (a dinosaur skeleton) structure that appears to be flowing out of the solid central area creates an emphatic image to both children and adults.

Strength of this project is that it has been able to provide for two different activities: one a technically complex toy production and design area and the other a socially demanding play area for children of the Mutuwal community. Both these areas are juxtaposed in the architectural form to create a sense of joy, which is the essence of playing with toys.

Tutor(s)


2010
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