Industrial - Honours

Roots Playground

The Roots Playground is a playground centered on its ability to degrade at the end of its lifecycle, eliminating the issue of permanency that many playgrounds face. The use of organic forms and a low profile allows Roots to seamlessly blend into its environment.

a solution to the devaluation of urban green space

My research in the first stage of this assessment (link provided below) suggested that Brisbane residents do not understand the benefits that green space provides to them as a society as well as the broad environmental benefits. This consequently leads to a serious devaluation of these spaces. A quote that illustrates this lack of value is that of a statement made by one of my expert interviewees, Maria Rigoli, who quite literally stated;

Green space wasn’t seen as a valuable piece of land

Maria rigoli (experienced landscape architect)

My challenge was to increase the value of these green spaces for Brisbane residents, balancing both their needs based on how they reported they used green spaces as well as including a benefit of green space within the product. I came to the conclusion that providing a product that benefited a range of individuals was most effective at expanding how individuals view green space.

View Rory’s Dissertation

dramatic night image or roots


The environmental benefit chosen for Roots was biodegradability, which was achieved through the use of cob, a completely natural material consisting of soil, sand and straw. This material was molded onto every root, with the intention that over time as it experiences weathering and use, it will degrade, naturally indicating to the installers that it needs to be removed. A shortened process of making this material is shown below, outlining the key steps of incrementally adding materials, compressing the mixture and applying to the framework.

The roots within the playground required a structure to remain stable, the two key components within that structure being the PLA framework and the foundation.

image of framework


The primary designed element of this project was the Roots framework, 3D printed using Polyactic Acid (PLA) to form an assembly of 1000mm long segments that slot together easily using pieces of dried bamboo (shown in project video). PLA is the most affordable degradable plastic currently available, where if recycled under controlled conditions can break down within 10 days. 3D printing an assembly allows the roots to form any shape and have an almost unlimited size, suitable for designing within different contexts and around different sized trees (with different shade coverages).
image of foundation


The second part of this project was the Roots foundation, designed around the recycled steel pipe shown extruding from the ground. A foundation is necessary for any public built structure to provide stability over time. The foundation assembly (shown in the project video) is also very simple, utilising cement-stabilised rammed earth, a fill alternative to cement that is not degradable.


Outreach was an important facet of the project to consider. A public playground is not a conventional consumer product, Roots even less so. I believed Roots to be an exhibition style product, as its uniqueness and size demands attention, so I reflected that in an art-exhibition style banner which would be hung throughout the urban locality.

image of roots playground banner

Roots playground

top view of playground

Rory McLynskey

Rory is a passionate young designer who prefers to maximise user experience (UX) by perfecting as many details as he possibly can. A seamless experience in his opinion is a good experience. This belief is part of Rory's identity as a minimal, eco-centric designer. The ability to convey function and meaning succinctly and clearly reduces the possibility of an unsustainable product. Rory is a strong-minded individual who is a natural leader however not in an arrogant or egoistic way. His dedication to delivering high-quality end products means that he is a diligent group member regardless of position.