The Playbrary

2015 • Willy Mann For MK Think

Why aren’t fun, playful, whimsical, malleable, exciting,  and energetic words we use to describe the library? Who says the library can’t be a fun place that blurs the boundaries between indoors and outdoors, public and private, and mental and physical activity?

These were all questions Outwith principal Willy Mann tried to answer as an intern with MKThink in 2013. His independent research project, The Playbrary: Using Play as a Design Strategy, combined the best parts of the playground with the best parts of the library in order to create an exciting new hybridized learning environment. The final result was a conceptual toolkit for developing highly immersive and enjoyable learning environments that appealed to the whole child by encouraging self-guided learning.

The project maintained moment to the present and was selected by AIA SF to be part of their Architecture and the City Festival in 2015. With the help of two of my coworkers, I led a four hour long design thinking workshop with librarians, designers, and community members that focused on the idea that a playful design process can lead to successful and inspirational design results.