Archive 2021

Ruoxi Zhang


In light of the current Covid 19 epidemic, how can we design a public space that further addresses and facilitates father-child interaction and engagement?

The pandemic suggested “it could permanently restructure the typical family, meaning more dads stay home.’’ (ABC13). Further commentary suggests that “a ‘new fatherhood’ is emerging, one that allows for balance between workplace and home responsibilities” (Yogman and Garfield, 2016).

We know that men encourage risky play “men tend to have physical and risky play styles with their children” (Amodia-Bidakowska, Laverty and Ramchandani (2020)) and it has been found that risk in play is beneficial to children ‘‘While playing risk, children can solve problems and be creative.’’ EYFS (2008) Principles into Practice 4.1.

Inspired by the #girldadchallenge on social media during the UK national lockdown, a new speculative play centre emerges in the Grosvenor Centre Northampton, providing spaces for children and fathers to build and customise sheds, complete unfinished bridges and explore innovative materials made from recycled waste. A multi-levelled open platform encourages children to reimagine the shed and learn by solving spatial problems, whilst a series of surrounding social spaces for families provides support for fathers, opportunities to learn new skills and watch the shed world evolve over time.

Ruoxi Zhang

Ruoxi Zhang portrait Ruoxi Zhang work image