life as prolific as Carl Theodor
Sørensen’s (1893-1979) is at
best difficult to summarise. With regard to the history of junk playgrounds,
his ideas became prominent in the late 1930’s when working on
transformation of the Cottage Park in Klampenborg, north of Copenhagen into
a family and children’s park.
transformative proposal was created in collaboration with Carl Theodor
Architect) and Hans
(School Teacher). The proposal featured numerous natural child play areas –
it is here that you can see
Sørensen’s interest and
commitment to providing children opportunities for natural play. The
proposal was titled “The Children’s Paradise” and was linked to Sørensen’s
other works in the early 1930’s.
Unfortunately Sørensen and Dragehjelm’s “Children’s Paradise” was never
realized and the local children’s play needs ignored. Instead the tennis
club was expanded and the English style gardens kept.
In a journal article in 1935 Sørensen wrote:
"Finally we should
probably at some point experiment with what one could call a junk
playground. I am thinking in terms of an area, not too small in size, well
closed off from its surroundings by thick greenery, where we should gather,
for the amusement of bigger children, all sorts of old scrap that the
children from the apartment blocks could be allowed to work with, as the
children in the countryside and in the suburbs already have. There could be
branches and waste from tree polling and bushes, old cardboard boxes, planks
and boards, "dead" cars, old tyres and lots of other things, which would be
a joy for healthy boys to use for something. Of course it would look
terrible, and of course some kind of order would have to be maintained; but
I believe that things would not need to go radically wrong with that sort of
situation. If there were really a lot of space, one is tempted to imagine
tiny little kindergartens, keeping hens and the like, but it would at all
events require an interested adult supervisor..."
Later on his life,
Sørensen wrote about junk playgrounds:
can dream and imagine and make dreams and imagination reality, any rate a
reality, which the child's mind is completely satisfied with…It is so
obvious that the children thrive here and feel well, they unfold and they
live. Of all the things, I have contributed to realize, the junk playgrounds
the ugliest, for me, however, it is the most beautiful and best of my
More to continue...