The Centennial legacy project for the Rotary Club of San Jose — the Rotary PlayGarden strives to create an inclusive environment to create a play environment for children of all abilities.
Located near the visitor center of the Guadalupe River Park it includes an earthen mound that functions as a as buffer between the new parking lot and the play area and hosts multiple embankment slides. This slough form that is central to the play area creates separate pods containing traditional play equipment that focuses on providing access and challenging play for all. Swinging, spinning, climbing, rocking equipment will be featured at each of these locations. Notable is a merry-go-round that will enables a user in a wheelchair to access it and their arms can be used to move themselves or children beside them can create the spinning motion.
Throughout the design the idea of providing multiples of the same experiences is the guiding force behind the design. The idea is that a variety of activities and locations of elements will allow for all abilities to be able to enjoy the park. Typical access in most play areas to date has focused on providing physical access as a means of providing an accessible play area and typically is just a ramp to an upper level on the play equipment. This project provides an environment that provides inclusive play, enabling all to play together. All surfaces leading to all equipment are accessible paths of travel.
The variety of environments along with multiples of same components should appeal all types of abilities. Those environments include:
• Crowded places with retreat spaces, equipment is spread out to allow those who are uncertain enough space to be at ease with their environment.
• Sensory play elements such as textural elements, plants, water, and sand play
• Raised sand and water tables as well as ground level accessible with transfer down platforms.
• A textured path near the sand and water play will provide sensory experience.
• Additional handholds for those with physical limitations to be able to enjoy the equipment and easily access it.
• Sliding hill will have stair access with handrails, stone climbing access, as well as a pathway that is wheelchair accessible from two directions. Transfer platform will be provided at the top of the slide.
• Slides: two heights, Double wide to accommodate two to go down at once, side by side to allow two children to play adjacent to each other.
• Swings have several types, traditional, ADA chair, a disc pod for multiple users to sit on swing at one time, and springing. The springing allows an able bodied user to pump the adjacent swing and assist neighboring swing user to swing.
• Alternate routes of access throughout the play space. The earthen mound provides sloped access for a wheelchair user, but also provides an overlook for a child to watch and become familiar with the play environment below so they can feel less inhibited to join in play with others or enter an unfamiliar place.
• Pathways are provided that are both direct and indirect, providing children with a choice about what route they want to pursue.
• Kinetic elements will provide sensory play.
• Restrooms will be family style with a large oversized changing bench to accommodate users needs.
PGAdesign, Landscape Architects & Prime
Lead Designer: Karen Krolewski
Assiatnt Designer: Diana Pink
Hensel Phelps Construction, General Contractor
Richard Lewis, Brandon Tudor & Dana Napper
Scientific Art Studio, Artist & Fabricator of water play, kinetic art and play animals
GFDS, Structural Engineer
Verde Design, Civil Engineer
Rotary Club of San Jose, primary funder & management of construction
Cupertino Electric, Electrical Engineer
Potomac Waterworks, Water Design Consultant
Murray Engineer, Geotechnical Engineers
Signalization Engineer, BKF Engineers
Playground EquipmentIntegration Carousel , Sound Column , Nest (Large) , Balls and Half Balls , Seagull
San Jose, California
at Guadalupe River Park near Coleman and Spring Street