Natural and Organic: Red Dunes Playtopia

Red Dunes by XISUI Design (Shanghai, China) won the popular choice at the prestigious 2023 Architizer A+Awards. This innovative design showcases undulating red dunes that create an alluring landscape for children's activities. By seamlessly integrating functional installations within the natural topography, the project evokes the charm of a mountain nest or a jungle treehouse.

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Cave-like children's space
Photo credit: Hu Yihao, XISUI Design

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Photo credit: Hu Yihao, XISUI Design

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Photo credit: Hu Yihao, XISUI Design

Utilizing advanced design techniques such as parameterized design, drainage optimization simulation, and structural form-finding algorithms, the Red Dunes project harmoniously blends the outdoor space with its natural surroundings. It aims to inspire both children and adults to immerse themselves in the joy of outdoor play and exploration.

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Challenging climbing facilities
Photo credit: Hu Yihao, XISUI Design

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Cabin-style giant slide activity facility
Photo credit: Hu Yihao, XISUI Design

Parametric topography design

Through digital generation, the topography has been tailored to accommodate the complexity and slope of the terrain, providing distinct zones for different age groups. Children's activity facilities seamlessly merge with the natural environment, forming a cohesive space.

Digital calculation of natural drainage

Meticulous calculations and simulations have ensured a comprehensive natural drainage system, effectively managing rainwater flow despite the undulating terrain. This innovative approach eliminates the need for surface drainage outlets, allowing rainwater to naturally disperse into green spaces and designated peak drainage outlets.

Concrete shell structure

The project presents a unique challenge in terms of form and structure with its undulated concrete shell structure. It emulates the cave-like topography of the natural landscape, providing climbing spaces above, and sheltered areas below. Inspired by the load transfer mechanism of natural arches, the design enables large spans and ultra-thin structural thicknesses. By integrating with the landscape, it enhances visual cohesion of the artificial structure, reduces column presence, and optimizes spatial efficiency.

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Concrete shell structure
Photo credit: Hu Yihao, XISUI Design

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Photo credit: Hu Yihao, XISUI Design

Practicing material efficiency and sustainable ideals

Concrete, with its advantages in terms of formability, cost-effectiveness, and practicality, has become a key direction in green architecture and the development of future organic structures. The concrete shell structure in this project combines large spans and ultra-thin structural thicknesses. Through mechanical calculations and modeling analysis, material savings have been achieved in comparison to conventional beam-column structures, with approximately two-thirds reduction in raw material usage for the same span.

About XISUI Design

Founded in 2018, XISUI Design is a Shanghai-based design brand specializing in innovative design solutions. With a focus on user experience and cultural integration, XISUI Design covers various domains, including space design, children's playgrounds, technology landscapes, landscape construction, installation art, and public sculpture.