American Society of Landscape Architects
Northern California Chapter


2016 Awards

Design: Parks, Recreation, Trails and Open Spaces

Merit Award

Rotary PlayGarden
Guadalupe River Park & Gardens
San Jose, CA
Landscape Designer: Karen Krolewski
Assistant Designer: Diana Pink
Client: Rotary Club of San Jose

A: Earthen Mound, B: Bridge, C: Tunnel, D: Play Area, E: Slides, F: Amphitheater, G: Sensory Garden, H: Restroom, I: Parking
Aerial of the play area show its proximity to the Guadalupe River Park and Gardens.
The entry tunnel bisecting the earthen mound providing entry to the play area.
A pedestrian bridge connects the two halves of the earthen mound surrounding the play area.
The water feature marks the beginning of the slough shaped pathway that encloses the play activities.
The slide area with a range of access methods allowing access for all physical abilities.
The blue slough pathway with a range of spinning and climbing equipment.
Multiple swings: disc-shaped to accommodate several users and spring activated allowing one to power another.
The sand and water play area showcasing the beginning of the slough shape.
Water is activated by easy to use push buttons mounted on the structure.
Earthen Mound, B: Bridge, C: Tunnel, D: Play Area, E: Slides, F: Amphitheater, G: Sensory Garden, H: Restroom, I: Parking.

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 while 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. Situated alongside a tributary of San Francisco Bay—and directly in the flight path of an airport—the 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.