outdoors architectural festival where kids and adults design and build playful spaces in 1:1 scale

Our investigation concerns participatory approaches to public space design. We merge education and craftsmanship and to transform traditional public spaces into playful – meaning lively, engaging, interactive - landscapes for both children and adults. Arch Dacha is an experimental festival that aims to engage children in a public space design through education.


The festival is created to explore the benefits of design-based learning for children and the advantages of the participatory design of playful public spaces. The idea of the experiment is to unite children, parents, and professionals in the process of design and construction in order to foster interaction and create unexpected sustainable playful scenarios.

Festival overview

The festival was held for 3 years on the bank of the lake near Saint Petersburg, Russia, and was visited by more than 500 people. The festival attracts families, architects, artists and other creative professionals who are interested in innovative collaborations and working with children. Participants not only design and construct wooden structures, but play perform, interact, walk and enjoy peaceful time in nature.

Outcomes of the experiment were explicit: children are actively engaged in learning; professionals find new perspectives on design; construction process is very efficient; built spaces promote social interaction and generate an emotional response from its users.

Overall we built 11 playful structures that over time evolved into a large playground for kids and adults in a natural landscape. It includes several tree houses and labyrinths, a lighthouse, a theater stage, a dome and a swing. One playful space or object is designed and built by averagely 50 participants (children and adults) under the supervision of professional carpenter and architects in 3-6 days of the festival.
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Saint Petersburg, Russia
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