Lafayette Park Playground, Miller Company Landscape Architects, San Francisco California, 2013

It starts with a hill (all good playscapes do):  two imposing rock mountains connected by a footbridge over a ‘gorge’  that allows for great over-under play.  The mountain-boulders are arranged in amphitheatre style steps that are great for climbing, or for seating tired parents close to the play.  I particularly like the mosaic treatment given to the snake that slithers across the playground…its petite tunnels are great for smaller children who will also really enjoy the feel of the pebbled texture, which is perfectly scaled for tiny hands.    Members of Lafayette Park’s surrounding community  particularly requested that the equipment take on a neutral pallet,  which allows the natural coloration in the stone (hand-picked from Montana)  to become the strongest aesthetic element of the space.

13,000 square feet, 1.8 million, beautifully accomplished.

This is a really interesting playground to me.  Because from where I sit at the top of Playground-Observation-Mountain, the Lafayette Park Playground is exactly what I’m seeing develop as the ‘new municipal playground’.  There is still recognizable equipment, but the additional features of a shaped ground-plane (hills are the new swings, remember), natural elements,  water play, and a non-intrusive color scheme are becoming the new standards for city installations.  And that’s a good thing.

[All images from Miller Company Landscape Architects, whose beautiful grassy slide was a very early feature here at Playscapes!]


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