We immediately dove into learning more about Atlas Public Schools as soon as DG2 Design was asked to design a playground for a new elementary school in downtown St. Louis. Atlas Elementary is a new school for curious, creative, and compassionate kids. The mission of Atlas Public Schools is to educate the whole child by combining a rigorous academic program with authentic, real-world experiences so all students thrive in middle school, high school, and beyond.

What kind of playground encourages imagination, physical challenges, and free play? Unlike other playing concepts Berliner spatial nets initiate a cognitive process in the playing child. The ability to make decisions is trained in a playful way. Children have a natural inclination to play and discover. It is important to strike a balance in your playground that allows children to extend themselves while remaining safe and injury-free. The playground should allow them to push themselves to test their boundaries and learn through doing.

Under the cover of a previously covered parking lot, the Atlas kids will have a variety of play options including two DNA Towers offering three-dimensional climbing and a slide as an alternative exit, a Trii climbing tower and tube slide, and a three-dimensional chess board!

This fantastic playground and a renovation project of adaptive reuse of a previously vacant building will meet the evolving needs of the school as it grows over the next five years.  The growth strategy includes adding a new grade each year until it reaches 600 students in kindergarten through fifth grade.