Koret Children’s Quarter

Situated near the eastern end of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, the Koret Children’s Quarter playground is a popular destination for city residents. It was built in 2007, replacing the former Sharon Quarters for Children, which was originally constructed in 1888 and believed to be the first public playground in the U.S.  The current play area includes a combination of natural elements, unique sculptures, and manufactured playground structures. One major attraction is an undulating concrete slide built into a hillside.

In 2017, the large play structure was destroyed by arson, but was replaced a year later.

Natural play elements:  sand, rocks, & vegetation
The main play structure includes a ramp connecting to a hillside path,
providing wheelchair accessibility.
The beloved concrete slide
Ocean-themed play sculptures
Lots of plantings surround the play area.
Play sculpture area for pre-school kids

Photos by Alice Webb

Project design by MIG

Advertisements

Olympic Sculpture Park

Situated on a former industrial site along Seattle’s waterfront, Olympic Sculpture Park consists of a series of dramatic angular surfaces that rise from the shoreline toward the urban center, bridging both a busy street and a railroad. A variety of sculptures accentuate the landscape, which ranges from open lawns to wooded slopes.

The park, which is part of the Seattle Art Museum, was completed in 2007.

“Wake”
“Eagle”
Eye benches and Father and Son fountain
“Echo”
Staircase entry from the waterfront area
There are also sloped walkways to the higher elevations of the park.
“Seattle Cloud Cover”
This piece is situated along a bridge over railroad tracks.

Photos by Alice Webb

Project design by Weiss/Manfredi

An Urban Dog Park



I’m back from a blogging hiatus, and I’ve got a few sites to post about that I visited during a trip to Seattle earlier this year. The first is a unique little dog park on 6th Avenue, on Amazon’s campus but open to the public, tucked between a tall building and the company’s new “Spheres” near the downtown.

Most leash-free sites that come to mind are the suburban variety with large fenced lawns – although this one is small, it’s a valuable amenity for those urban-dwelling canines who don’t have their own yards to roam. Dogs who live in the city are probably used to smaller, cramped quarters anyway, so they don’t need a lot of space to run around and socialize off-leash.

This little dog park is the best-looking one I’ve ever seen – although the dogs don’t care, their humans probably appreciate the pleasant features of this space. Instead of being separated from the street and other areas with fencing, the designers took advantage of the grade change of the site and included a retaining wall which works very well as a barrier. This wall is an attractive metal gabion which includes a carefully-placed line of aqua-colored glass stones along the center.

The park also contains a little patch of lawn (artificial, I’m assuming); rocks (for peeing?); a dog-height drinking fountain; and a multi-level platform (perhaps so the pups can play “king of the hill”). And, of course, there’s the requisite doggy poop bag station. The whole park looks like it’s regularly washed down to keep things clean.

I rate this space as a win-win for both the dogs and their people.
 
Photo by Alice Webb

Columbus Circle – An Urban Oasis

Columbus Circle 1

The central islands of most traffic circles in the U.S. are just planted areas, at best, with no consideration for public use. To be fair, the majority are either too small or in areas with too little pedestrian activity to work well as park spaces. Columbus Circle in New York City, however, has neither of these limitations. It also has the benefit of traffic signals at its three crosswalks/entrances. This century-old site underwent a major transformation in 2005, when a barren traffic island with a tall monument to Christopher Columbus was reshaped and expanded into a much larger circular park. It’s truly an oasis in the city, where traffic noise is muffled by the sound of the fountains that border the pedestrian space, and groups of trees along the perimeter provide some visual separation from the surroundings.

Columbus Circle 2
View toward Columbus Circle’s central monument

Columbus Circle 3
Long, wide benches arc around the perimeter of the central plaza.

Columbus Circle 4
Terraced plant beds form the circle’s boundary.

Columbus Circle 5
One of three entrances into the circle

Photos by Alice Webb

Since I was only able to photograph the space from the ground and in daylight hours during a brief visit to the city, here are links to two sites with impressive photos from above, showing the entire circle during the day and also at night:

Columbus Circle in daylight
Columbus Circle at night