Obituary for Conrad Roland
We commemorate the inventor of the rope climbing equipment
We mourn the death of Conrad Roland, architect, utopian, visionary, master student of Mies van der Rohe, and an important, closely connected companion of Richter Spielgeräte GmbH. Conrad Roland, founder of the company Corocord Spielbau GmbH, born in Munich in 1934 and deceased on 25 September 2020 in Hawaii, was a decisive pioneer in the construction of spacenets, which can still be found today mainly as rope climbing equipment in playgrounds. For the 1987 International Garden Exhibition in Düsseldorf, he constructed the largest Spacenet in the world to date, the „Super Four Mast Spacenet“.
The first contacts between Richter and Roland were made at the IGA Hamburg 1973, where rope play equipment was exhibited for the first time. In 1978/79 there were first points of contact on safety issues. From 1982 Richter and Roland worked together in close cooperation. Among other things, joint trade fair presentations and the first joint product catalogue were created in 1987. From 1988 to 2004, Corocord operated under the management of Richter Spielgeräte GmbH.
The multiple award-winning rope climbing equipment from this period of joint creation can be found as classics on playgrounds all over the world. Conrad Roland's visions of architecturally seemingly impossible constructions are still unique today.
"Spatial play area nets consisting of several interconnected rope net levels allow free movement in space. The children can move up and down, back and forth, horizontally, diagonally and vertically in the spacenet in many different ways. They can form a dense ball of rope or spread out on the rope in the room. Spacenets are "living". They react to the movement of the children by constantly changing deformation, by natural oscillation and sometimes by rocking up. The children react to these net movements, balance with them, polarise their movement". (Conrad Roland in the preface to the Corocord catalogue 1987)
We consider ourselves fortunate to have been able to participate in the creation and testing of Conrad Roland's Spacenet concepts and we will honour his memory and his visions.