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

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.