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Ashlie Latiolais, Assistant Professor of Architecture, Completes ‘CDCPlay

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CDCPlay is a pro-bono service project initiated by President Joseph Savoie and the Vice-President for Student Affairs at the University of Louisiana - Lafayette for their under-served playground (previously comprised of a mud-filled lawn and chain-link fence) at the Child Development Center daycare facility. The facility is dedicated to providing inclusive child care for University faculty, staff, students, and the public. The CDC’s education philosophy supports a whole-child concept of development based on the premise one cannot educate without offering care and protection and one cannot provide care and protection without also educating young children in a group setting. CDC could also be considered an incubator for teaching preschool education, integrating University teachers and students into a hands-on immersive educational experience.

Photographs by Catherine Guidry Photography

The first goal of re-imagining a playground design for this inspirational work was to reflect the beauty of its interior functions onto the exterior playground while integrating the idea of ‘play’ at every turn. A division of the toddler and pre-school age groups in outdoor and indoor spaces at the daycare was required by the facility’s licensing board. This restraint immediately transformed into an opportunity for the playground design - how to occupy and play on the ‘wall’. The wall folds and contains spaces that offer group and personal play while inspiring the children to climb, run, perform, occupy, and draw, amongst the new soft and solid surfaces of the master planned play equipment. Working hand-in-hand with the CDC Director, UL Lafayette Facility Services, GameTime Equipment, and JB Mouton Contractors evolved a design collaborated between several trades and offer an exciting place for kids to be kids!