Prague is building its first 3D printed parkour playground

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Czech building society Stavební spořitelna Česká spořitelna is set to build the first 3D printed parkour playground in the city of Prague.

Set to be erected in the district of Prague 11, the playground will be jointly developed with partners from the private and public sectors, as well as academia.

According to Czech media outlet Prague Morning, the country’s construction industry is currently facing many difficulties, including labor shortages, a lack of automation, and ever-rising building material costs. Česká spořitelna believes the use of 3D printing may help alleviate these issues.

Libor Vošický, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Česká spořitelna, explains, “There are many playgrounds for preschoolers, but older children don’t have many options, so we decided to use innovative 3D printing technology to create a parkour playground. At the same time, we want to confirm the benefits of using recycled concrete. It is another milestone in the use of this innovative technology.”

The city of Prague will receive a new 3D printed parkour playground. Photo via Erasmusu.
The city of Prague will receive a new 3D printed parkour playground. Photo via Erasmusu.

Hardcore parkour

Originating in France in the late 1980s, parkour is a form of freerunning that was popularized by edgy youngsters with access to camcorders (and later Michael Scott). Often taking place in urban environments, the aim of parkour is to get from point A to point B in the fastest, most efficient, and downright coolest manner possible. The modern sport is about as accessible as can be as it requires no specialist equipment – just some loose-fitting clothes and the will to jump.

Jan Stárek, Councilor for Sport, Culture, and Leisure of Prague 11, added, “We are pleased to be able to provide land for this innovative sports project, which is also a suitable addition to our new leisure area at Kupecký Elementary School. The parkour playground is a great variant of the available sport for older children and adults.”

Parkour is a global phenomenon, even in harsh environments such as southern Gaza. Photo via Ali Ali, EPA.
Parkour is a global phenomenon, even in harsh environments such as southern Gaza. Photo via Ali Ali, EPA.

Prague’s first 3D printed parkour playground

Parkour playgrounds usually comprise collections of upright obstacle structures which lend themselves to vaults, spins, and jumps, with complex geometries making for more interesting run sequences. Daniel Samek, the architect who designed the playground, believes concrete 3D printing technology is perfect for the application as it will enable unique and non-conventional shapes to be fabricated with ease.

Once complete, the playground will measure 14 x 12m in area, with shock-absorbing cast rubber flooring for user safety. Each of the obstacles with be printed using recycled concrete materials provided by Master Builders Solutions CZ and Skanska. Additionally, playground firm Work4out will be responsible for the earthwork and certification of the playground. The residents of Prague can begin freerunning at the end of September, when the playground is set to open.

Over the past year, we’ve seen several milestones when it comes to 3D printed infrastructure. Earlier this month, China’s first 3D printed retractable bridge was unveiled in Shanghai, and it’s capable of unfurling in less than one minute. Weighing just 850kg and spanning 9m long, the Bluetooth-controlled bridge is located in the city’s Wisdom Bay Innovation Park, and comprises 36 3D printed triangle panels.

Elsewhere, in the Netherlands, Dutch 3D printing technology provider MX3D recently unveiled the country’s first 3D printed stainless steel bridge in the heart of Amsterdam. In the pipeline since 2015, the sci-fi-esque ‘MX3D Bridge’ was fabricated using the firm’s signature Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) technology, a form of robotic arm-based directed energy deposition (DED).

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Featured image shows the city of Prague. Photo via Erasmusu.