Rotary PlayGarden

Location: San Jose

Project Type:

The Rotary Club of San Jose gifted the city an all-inclusive space where children with the widest range of physical and psychological challenges can play together. The Rotary PlayGarden goes beyond ADA requirements; its design encourages children to be physically active, but also supports the feeling of safety that induces them to engage. It supports various modes of recreation: repose as well as activity, and play that can range from tentative to robust. There is rotating, swinging, sliding, climbing, spinning and bouncing equipment, kinetic elements, sand, tactile play, water play and even a wheelchair accessible carousel—all in a layout that encourages playing together.

That the project was also partly funded by the Santa Clara County Office of Education indicates the level of integration the playground offers to children of all abilities. The play area started out as a vision by Rotarian Julie Matsushima with a recognition that the disparity of the play spaces often leads to isolation for children with needs. She had a desire to see her twin granddaughters, Aimee and Chloe, play side-by-side, even though Aimee was born with cerebral palsy. It was her initial determination and connection as past president of the Rotary Club of San Jose that began the drive to make the Playground construction the focus of the Centennial project.

Situated alongside a tributary of San Francisco Bay — and directly in the flight path of an airport — the 5-acre PlayGarden has an estuarine slough-shaped motif, with imagery of waving grasses, flowing water, and animals moving with ease through water and air. The sinuous, unbounded nature of an aquatic environment mirrors what the design seeks to evoke: both physical motion, and the sense of possibility inherent in long vistas, water, and flight.

The park’s legacy includes hiring and training staff with special needs to help maintain the park.  In addition, Santa Clara County Office of Education and San Andreas Regional Center will support programming at the facility for their clients.

Awards

  • 2016 American Society of Landscape Architects, NCC Design Merit Award

Grant press release w link 2017

Quotemark

Pamela Wolfberg, Ph.D., Associate Professor San Francisco State University

Location: San Jose

Project Type: Parks + Recreation

The Rotary Club of San Jose gifted the city an all-inclusive space where children with the widest range of physical and psychological challenges can play together. The Rotary PlayGarden goes beyond ADA requirements; its design encourages children to be physically active, but also supports the feeling of safety that induces them to engage. It supports various modes of recreation: repose as well as activity, and play that can range from tentative to robust. There is rotating, swinging, sliding, climbing, spinning and bouncing equipment, kinetic elements, sand, tactile play, water play and even a wheelchair accessible carousel—all in a layout that encourages playing together.

That the project was also partly funded by the Santa Clara County Office of Education indicates the level of integration the playground offers to children of all abilities. The play area started out as a vision by Rotarian Julie Matsushima with a recognition that the disparity of the play spaces often leads to isolation for children with needs. She had a desire to see her twin granddaughters, Aimee and Chloe, play side-by-side, even though Aimee was born with cerebral palsy. It was her initial determination and connection as past president of the Rotary Club of San Jose that began the drive to make the Playground construction the focus of the Centennial project.

Situated alongside a tributary of San Francisco Bay — and directly in the flight path of an airport — the 5-acre PlayGarden has an estuarine slough-shaped motif, with imagery of waving grasses, flowing water, and animals moving with ease through water and air. The sinuous, unbounded nature of an aquatic environment mirrors what the design seeks to evoke: both physical motion, and the sense of possibility inherent in long vistas, water, and flight.

The park’s legacy includes hiring and training staff with special needs to help maintain the park.  In addition, Santa Clara County Office of Education and San Andreas Regional Center will support programming at the facility for their clients.

Awards

  • 2016 American Society of Landscape Architects, NCC Design Merit Award

Grant press release w link 2017

Quotemark

Pamela Wolfberg, Ph.D., Associate Professor San Francisco State University

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