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 abilities can play together. Surpassing ADA requirements, the Rotary PlayGarden design encourages physical activity and supports the feeling of safety that inspires children to engage. The PlayGarden facilitates play spanning from the tentative to the robust, and allows repose as well as activity. Children can engage by rotating, swinging, sliding, climbing, spinning, and bouncing with equipment and elements that vary in kinetics and tactility. Features such as sand, water, and a wheelchair-accessible carousel facilitate different types of play within a layout that encourages playing together.

Partial funding by the Santa Clara County Office of Education indicates the integration the playground engenders among children of all abilities. The play area began as a vision by Rotarian Julie Matsushima, who recognized the disparity of play spaces often isolates children with needs. She desired to see her twin granddaughters, Aimee and Chloe, play side-by-side, even though Aimee was born with cerebral palsy. Her initial determination and connection as past president of the Rotary Club of San Jose started the push to make the PlayGarden construction the focus of the Centennial project.

Situated alongside a tributary of San Francisco Bay and directly in an airport flightpath, 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: 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 space. The Santa Clara County Office of Education and San Andreas Regional Center also support programming at the facility for their clients.

Awards

2016 American Society of Landscape Architects, NCC Design Merit Award

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 abilities can play together. Surpassing ADA requirements, the Rotary PlayGarden design encourages physical activity and supports the feeling of safety that inspires children to engage. The PlayGarden facilitates play spanning from the tentative to the robust, and allows repose as well as activity. Children can engage by rotating, swinging, sliding, climbing, spinning, and bouncing with equipment and elements that vary in kinetics and tactility. Features such as sand, water, and a wheelchair-accessible carousel facilitate different types of play within a layout that encourages playing together.

Partial funding by the Santa Clara County Office of Education indicates the integration the playground engenders among children of all abilities. The play area began as a vision by Rotarian Julie Matsushima, who recognized the disparity of play spaces often isolates children with needs. She desired to see her twin granddaughters, Aimee and Chloe, play side-by-side, even though Aimee was born with cerebral palsy. Her initial determination and connection as past president of the Rotary Club of San Jose started the push to make the PlayGarden construction the focus of the Centennial project.

Situated alongside a tributary of San Francisco Bay and directly in an airport flightpath, 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: 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 space. The Santa Clara County Office of Education and San Andreas Regional Center also support programming at the facility for their clients.

Awards

2016 American Society of Landscape Architects, NCC Design Merit Award

Quotemark

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