Architect and town planner
Peter Hannes studied architecture and town planning at the University of Stuttgart in the mid nineteen-eighties.
His criticism of the uninspired equipment in children’s playgrounds led him to hold seminars for youth centre workers on building their own playground equipment. After this he began to plan his first 'classic' playgrounds during semester jobs working in landscape architecture offices until he finally began to design his own play structures and realise them with the help of municipal workers, parents and children.
After completing his studies, Peter Hannes was offered a teaching position by Professor Kroner on the subject of “play architecture” in the school building faculty at the Stuttgart University. At the same time he founded his own architectural office in Esslingen. He was commissioned with both small projects from the local municipalities for integrated play concepts with the possibility of citizen participation and larger play planning such as for the Internationale Gartenschau (international garden show) in Stuttgart, the boat harbour in Lausanne and the Bundesgartenschau (federal garden show) in Gelsenkirchen.
From 1994 onwards, Peter Hannes – married to a Frenchwoman and the father of two boys – lived in France, close to Grenoble. From there, he continued his theme of play architecture in collaboration with the Richter company. He died in April 1997 at the age of 37 years as the result of a paragliding accident.
Peter Hannes about his philosophy:
“We appreciate and support the pedagogical concept of active playgrounds and youth farms of counteracting an environment hostile to children by means of a realistically oriented 'emergency aid programme' whose objective is to motivate children to 'play actively'."
In the spirit of the basic idea of 'active playing' we want to motivate children to actively assist in designing their own playgrounds.Peter Hannes
Moreover we seek close cooperation with the playground operators, the interested parents and the city. Our overriding goal is not simply to design, but to also realise the joint ideas.
To ensure that projects can be realised, we already consider using simple constructions and inexpensive or existing materials during the planning stage.
Meaningful planning for and with children is only possible if it is carried out where children are, which means: planning on site.”