Cow Hollow School Natural Playscape, San Francisco California, Surface Design, 2010

This compact playscape in San Francisco’s historic Presidio manages to tick alot of boxes in a small space:  rolling topography with circuitous paths, a circular meeting space for outdoor class, an inspiring play house, natural elements, appropriate plantings and loose parts play via the creative use of cardboard tubing!  Plus an appropriate use of equipment.  And all within a strong design framework for the space, which so many school playgrounds lack.  Admirably done by surface design. 

“…the landscape architect designed play features to support the Reggio Emilia approach and to recall bay area landscapes: the “beach” sand pit; the play “forest;” a grassy “Headland” mound; and a giant “telephone,” constructed from a large remnant drainage pipe. Carved out from the center of the Headlands, the designers created a room of rammed earth, recalling the forms of historic defense bunkers found at the water’s edge of the Presidio. Tree cookie pavers, cut from fallen Eucalyptus trees in the Presidio provide students to create their own games and to create paths through the school yard.  Material selection and planting for the project was informed by the educational objectives of the playground and by the planting and preservation guidelines of the Presidio Trust. Plants are drought-tolerant and native and materials are natural, biodegradable or reclaimed.”

[found at architypesource:   photos from surface design.]

4 Responses to “Cow Hollow School Natural Playscape, San Francisco California, Surface Design, 2010”

  1. arcady said:

    Hi Jared,
    I'm pretty sure the playhouse is by Patrick Doughery ( so it's pretty advanced. But there are instructions for simpler willow weavings around the web.

    October 20, 2012 at 4:25 am

  2. Jared said:

    Does anyone know how to make one of those nest-like structures? Seen any DIY descriptions? I would like to give one a shot .


    October 19, 2012 at 12:12 am

  3. Doug Baker said:

    Beautifully done!

    October 18, 2012 at 6:44 pm

  4. Lesley said:

    Totally amazing and eco friendly too!

    October 18, 2012 at 6:54 am

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