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The Power of Play

The playhouse is a testament to the principles of play, curiosity and light, drawing inspiration from the idea of a greenhouse that doubles as a lantern at night. The use of transparent polycarbonate material allows for ample natural light to enter the space during the day and emit light at night, creating a unique atmosphere that is both bright and airy and magically enchanting. Every detail, from the tensioned ropes and plastic balls to the assorted textures and spirited hues that reflect the emblem of the new Children's Hospital at VCU, was thoughtfully selected to optimize sensory engagement and create a space that stimulates the imagination.

Designed specifically for kids aged 4 to 10, the playhouse takes into consideration the ergonomics and ideal viewing height of this age group. Parents are also kept in mind, with transparent walls that provide easy supervision, and an interactive wall that encourages parent-child engagement. The design encourages play and interaction at every turn, and is a departure from traditional architectural design, incorporating new materials and assemblies.

The playhouse, while seemingly a lighthearted attraction, represents a powerful message of resilience and hope to the community. Through the efforts of Henrico CASA, DPR Construction, and Hanbury, the playhouse was crafted to address social issues such as domestic violence, familial struggles, and the foster care system.

With a dual mission of supporting CASA of Henrico County and engaging the public with a playful approach to architecture, the shared effort resulted in a work of art that brings joy to children and sheds light on important social issues in the community. The playhouse serves as a shining example of the power of collaboration and the positive impact that design can have on the world around us, conveying a clear message that when we work together, we can achieve great things.

As part of the Home for Good charity event, the playhouse will be on display at Short Pump Town Center from April 21st to May 7th, seeking to raise awareness about child abuse and encourage donations to support Henrico CASA's mission. The playhouse serves as a beacon of hope, demonstrating that despite adversity, joy and play can still be found. Its design emphasizes the crucial role of architecture in fostering creativity and imagination while highlighting the need for support for organizations like Henrico CASA, who tirelessly work towards ensuring the well-being of children who have experienced abuse or neglect.