Main Project Aesthetics: Plans and Alternatives

Intended Project Aesthetic: 

My current plan to make a guinea pig playpen with a childhood nostalgic aesthetic, taking inspiration from the McDonald’s indoor playgrounds my dad often took my brother and I growing up. The main elements I plan to include are lots of different bright and neon colors, winding tunnels, and iconic McDonalds imagery. 

[1] Example of an indoor McDonalds playground

With any aesthetic, the following must be included:

  • Elevated platforms 
  • Ramps for them to climb
  • Roofed area for hiding 
  • A swing or hammock
  • Hooks to hang toys off
  • Removable roof / detachable pieces for easy clean up and storage

Gothic Aesthetic: 

When it comes to an opposite aesthetic, the first architectural aesthetic that came to mind is gothic. Unlike the bright colors and curvy geometry of my original vision, the gothic aesthetic uses a lot of pointy tops, intricate detailing, and sharp arches. 

Sketch of what a gothic, outdoor play structure would look like for my guinea pigs

While a gothic design would look very fancy with the detailed windows and railings, and very striking with the sharp tops, I am concerned for the safety of my guinea pigs. I would have to make the top points high and out of reach for it to be safe, and I can almost 100% guarantee that the thin, wood detailing would be chewed on. 

Natural Aesthetic: 

For the natural aesthetic, I would be highlighting the natural wood pattern of my building materials, and most likely sticking with shades of green for additional colors. The natural aesthetic is also very simple and open to convey a fresh and spacious feeling that you get when being in nature. This is starkly different from my colorful playground that would be quite chaotic. 


Sketch of what a natural, outdoor play structure would look like for my guinea pigs


After sketching this aesthetic, I am very tempted to go with the natural look over a nostalgic playground. I think the lower level offers a good hiding spot for my guinea pigs while the top floor gives them a more open space. I really like the climbing tree component, especially knowing my guinea pigs particularly love to climb on the roofs of their homes. 

While the McDonalds play place look is nostalgic to me, this outdoor play structure is meant for my guinea pigs. I want a layout and look that would appeal to them, drawing out their curiosity but also making them feel comfortable and safe. I am not sure a chaotic playpen is right, and the natural aesthetic may be more suited for them. 


[1] “Indoor Play Pens.” The Pullman Playground.

Previous Post
Main Project Aesthetic Plans & Alternatives: Truss Kite
Next Post
Main Project Aesthetics: Plans and Alternatives

4 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi Helen! Great post, your project idea is really delightful. I think in both of the concept sketches you did, it’s clear you really understood each different aesthetic and thought through how you could integrate them with your project. And it’s cool to hear that this exercise might end up changing the course of your project! I agree that the natural aesthetic is a good choice, but there’s still something very charming about the original idea. I wonder if there’d be some way to combine the two in a way that would still be good for the guinea pigs? Maybe something to think about. In any case, excited to see how this turns out.

    • Hi Sean. I really appreciate the feedback on my sketches, and glad to hear you thought the aesthetic came through. This exercise is definitely making me indecisive with all the aesthetic choices I could go with. I like your idea of taking elements from different aesthetics, so maybe I will do a Frankenstein-type aesthetic by mixing two.

  • Hailey Usher
    March 8, 2024 3:51 pm

    Hi! I really enjoyed reading your post! I loved seeing the sketches for your playpen in both the natural and gothic aesthetic. While I totally understand why going for a simpler, natural look, something in me just loves the gothic architecture you implemented in your sketch – I think I’m drawn to the way it looks like a castle! As you move forward, maybe a cool idea could be to make the top portion of the playpen look like a storybook castle? I’m so excited to see your future progress!

    • Hi Hailey. Thanks for your feedback. I also really liked the gothic look, and my brother also told me its his favorite. I really like the idea of taking inspiration from a storybook castle, as the forms would be safer for my guinea pigs and still have that childhood feel.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.