Merit Award

Helen Diller Civic Center Playground

San Francisco, CA

Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture

Lead Landscape Architect: Emily Rylander

Client: The Trust for Public Land, Helen Diller Family Foundation, San Francisco Recreation and Park Department

In 2013, the designers began to reimagine and rebuild two playgrounds in the heart of San Francisco's Civic Center Historic District, in order to serve the growing number of families in the densely populated Civic Center and Tenderloin neighborhoods. Working closely with a variety of stakeholders, community members and agencies, the design team developed concepts to create iconic new play spaces where children's experience was a priority and which include custom play equipment designs, interactive light pieces, seating and thoughtful planting.

Movement of fog-the iconic San Francisco weather pattern-is the design inspiration for these unique and artful play spaces that sit across from City Hall. Swooping and durable steel members spiral and twist while stretching blue and silver nets across the playgrounds. Children climb through the cloud-like nets to reach platforms and slides that offer views across the plaza and to twinkling pixel poles. These interactive, slender pixel poles of pulsing light create a living ambiance that carries the project through the night and provides the plaza with additional illumination.