Virág Bogyó, Flóra Madácsi Playstreet?!

Dist. 8, Mátyás Square section of Bauer Sándor Street

14 September – 27 September 2023

Kesztyűgyár Community Center (1084 Budapest Mátyás Square 15.)

27 September – 28 September 2023

Dist. 7, Barát Street

29 September – 01 October 2023

Exhibiting artists:

Virág Bogyó, Flóra Madácsi


College for Advanced Studies in Architecture, Kesztyűgyár Community Centre, Virág Lődi, FabLab, Dániel János Fodor, Medence designlab, Luca Menesi, Municipality of Erzsébetváros, participants of the ‘REPETA’ workshop: Lóránd Jakab, Bertalan Kaczián, Laura Lentovits, Marcell Ludányi, Ádám Partali, Csenge Nikl, Luca Varga

It’s natural for everyone in urban spaces to think of the playground as the main site of child play, where children can enjoy freedom in a designated manner, on regulated (and of course safe) equipment, but this was not so clear until recent decades. From the 1930s onwards, so-called playstreets for children’s communities were created in many cities around the world, permanently or temporarily closed to car traffic. In the 1950s, there were playstreets in Budapest as well, but by the 1960s they had been displaced by the increasing density of car traffic. In recent years, like other cities, Budapest has seen a conscious, people-centred trend in urban development that takes into account other aspects besides – or instead of – transport, but child’s play still rarely emerges as a design principle.
In the scope of the project Playstreet?! by Virág Bogyó and Flóra Madácsi, Barát Street in District VII (which was once one of the first playstreets in Budapest) and the Mátyás Square section of Bauer Sándor Street in District VIII will be closed to car traffic. The main objective of the multi-day action is to create a space for discourse, to redefine and re-invent the tradition of playstreets and to challenge dogmas about the use of public space and children’s play activities. What is the relevance of playstreets in Budapest today? How have our public spaces, as well as the ways we educate and supervise our children, how have the ways of spending leisure time changed over the 70 years since the first playstreets were opened in Budapest? Can the playstreet provide something that overregulated playgrounds cannot?
In collaboration with architect Alíz Bárczy and the College for Advanced Studies in Architecture, Virág Bogyó and Flóra Madácsi designed multifunctional wooden elements for these temporary car-free zones that invite children as well as adults to play, while having no exclusively designated function, leaving room for imagination. The structures will be on display in the Kesztyűgyár Community Centre’s Gallery before being installed at the sites. Here, the playground elements will be transformed into pedestals and benches accommodating a mini-exhibition presenting the history of playstreets, children’s urban play and its inherent potential. During the street actions, the exhibits will transform into play equipment, and a special feature of the Barát Street site will be a giant sand hill in the middle of the street, inviting visitors to play. In the meantime, the creators will be continuously available to the adult public for professional discussions.

Photos: Zsuzsi Simon