The roof park of Marmara Forum is perhaps one of the most photographed in Istanbul, Turkey. It is situated in the Bakirköy district and a marvel of architecture located in a residential area in the city. Bakirköy is a crucial shopping and commercial center and is one of the most visited in the country.
On the Forum’s rooftop, an open-air playground can be seen from miles away. Often referred to as the Cloud Playground, the rooftop is a blend of architectural and engineering inventiveness that gave rise to a whimsical site.
This spherical play area was designed to stimulate a fun and exciting atmosphere capable of inspiring and capturing the imagination of all those that visit, whether young or old. The kaleidoscopic colors and maze-like interior have been perfectly designed to inspire fun, which is exactly what the designers conceptualized.
Who made it?
This ultra-fun and futuristic playground was conceptualized by Carve, an architectural design firm based in Amsterdam. The project was commissioned as part of the Marmara Forum’s desire to revive and revitalize itself as the top choice for shopping and entertainment in the region.
Carve was tasked with the job of renovating the terrace and the food court in the hope of re-establishing the shopping center as the number one choice for the residents as well as neighboring cities. With these newly renovated spaces, a new playground also needed to be created to match the allure of a world-class commercial hub.
The result was a high-end rooftop playground situated on the terrace of the shopping center. The architects opted to place the shopping mall 24 meters above street level, which helped the construction to stand out further.
The playground itself was designed to cater to diverse groups, from very young children to older teens. To cater to the needs of each of these groups, the architects designed different play areas, including a space for toddlers and older children.
Some of the features of the playground include a climbing dome, a tower that is as high as 8 meters and a massive internal slide. The architects covered the interior of the various circular clouds with components that could aid the children’s play, including handles that help them climb safely, slides to enhance their experience and a forest of hammocks for lounging and resting in between play sessions.
The circular openings of the clouds were also fitted with nets so that children could climb and play safely while also enjoying views from the surroundings. To ensure that the clouds were as safe as possible, every component was carefully pondered to give parents the peace of mind needed to allow their kids to play freely.
Colors & material
The design team also picked materials that could survive continuous exposure to the elements when creating the design. The designers opted to go for white as the exterior color, which they cleverly juxtaposed with numerous colorful windows of different shapes and sizes. The use of candy-colored hues helped to add a sense of magical realism to the playground.
The architects relied on local craftsmen who assembled and installed the curved stainless-steel panels with unbelievable accuracy.
Challenges & solutions
One of the biggest challenges that the design team faced when coming up with the concept was coming up with a design that could accommodate a large number of children safely. The architects also encountered a little difficulty in deciding which materials would work best while withstanding the heavy foot traffic that would be experienced during the weekends and holidays.
Ultimately, the designers would settle on using hexagonal and pentagonal panels that would then be assembled into spheres of play clouds. In total, the design utilized a combined total of 275 panels, which created the self-supporting structure that children use and enjoy today.
During hot weather, the children can play in the cloud’s shade and when raining, they can also seek shelter within the spaces. Although this project appears complex, it only took six months for Carve to complete, which is a testament to the firm’s experience and skill.
- Rooftop of Marmara Forum
- Address: Osmaniye Mahallesi Çobançeşme Koşuyolu Bulvarı No:3 Bakırköy, İstanbul
- Bus: 72T, 89M, 89S, 93M, 93T, Beylikdüzü – Zincirlikuyu
- Train : Marmaray (Ataköy – Pendik), Marmaray (Halkali – Gebze)
- Metro: M1A: Zeytinburnu Station or Incirli Station
- Tel: 0 212 466 64 53
Plan & technical drawings
Looking up from the street level, the structures and panels do look like clouds or something pulled out of a futuristic sci-fi movie. During the day, the sun shines on the clouds. At night, the white light that radiates from the openings and frames serves as a beacon for the surrounding builds of the Forum. Day or night, the Cloud Playground is an architectural marvel that draws thousands of visitors to the city each year.