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Santa Clara War Memorial Park -- Santa Clara, Calif.

By Doug Godfrey, Project Manager, Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey




The playground was designed for tot and school-age children, although an emphasis was placed on programming the park for children age two to five.
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Santa Clara's War Memorial Playground is a neighborhood park constructed on the site of the former War Memorial Swimming Center. In coordination with the city of Santa Clara and its parks and recreation department, Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey developed a uniquely themed playground for the local neighborhood children.

The park's features include tot and school-age play areas, swings for both age groups, a sand play area, a central plaza with tables and benches, and a prefabricated restroom facility. While the playground was designed for tot and school-age children, an emphasis was placed on programming the park for children age two to five.






The site grade was lowered about three feet and the excavated material used to create a series of berms three to seven feet in height around the perimeter of the park. The berms enclose the playground from adjacent ball fields, hide a nearby parking lot and, with plantings, screen an adjacent residential edge. The berms also give the kids a place to run up and down.


War Memorial Playground is designed around a playful 'ant' theme. Custom play features, concrete and safety surfacing detailing and the selection of prefabricated play equipment all advance the park theme.

The main features of the park are custom play sculptures designed, fabricated, and installed by Mario Chiodo Studios of Oakland, Calif. The play features include an anthill climbing structure and six whimsical ant sculptures. The anthill is roughly eight feet in diameter, sloping up to three feet in height. It is fabricated with four of the ant sculptures climbing up the sides to a depression at the top where children can sit and play. A fifth ant sculpture is mounted in the middle of a sand pit, providing an opportunity for the children to discover the buried creature. The remaining ant sculpture welcomes children and parents at the park's entrance.






A fifth ant sculpture is attached to the middle of a sand pit, providing an opportunity for the children to discover the buried creature.


In addition to the sculpture at the park's entrance is the beginning of an ant trail meandering through the park, ending up at the ant hill. Impressions of ants marching in-line are stamped along the extent of the colored concrete trail.

Where the concrete trail meets the resilient safety surfacing, the matting continues the impression to the bottom of the hill. Impressions for the concrete trail and the trail within the resilient safety surfacing were created from molds, also from Chiodo Studios.

To the extent possible, play equipment that fit the theme or look of the park was selected. The unique qualities and characteristics and overall play value of the pieces were also a major consideration.






There's more than one way to negotiate the "Rock and Cross" (Big Toys). A "Goat Rock" climber (Boldr) is in the background.


The site, prior to construction was relatively flat and open on three of four sides. To create a sense of enclosure and space, the site grade was lowered about three feet and the excavated material used to create a series of berms three to seven feet in height around the perimeter of the park. The berms enclose the playground from adjacent ball fields, hide a near-by parking lot and, with plantings, screen an adjacent residential edge. The berms also have play value, allowing open areas for children to run and play on their own.

Plant selection for the playground intended to continue the unique look and character of the park. Color, form and texture were all considered in the selection of plant material 'Summer Chocolate' silk (Albizia julibrissin) and the Camphora tree (Cinnamomum camphora) are examples of interesting selections that may not be typical in such a park setting. Planting design also served a functional purpose. Chinese pistache (Pistacia chinensis) is used in the central park area to provide shade around tables and benches. Planting for the playground was further enhanced by the city providing nine 48-inch box crepe myrtles. These trees had an instant impact, providing a developed canopy and mature appearance.









Impressions of ants marching in-line are stamped along the extent of the colored concrete trail that meanders through the park and ends at anthill. Where the concrete trail meets the resilient safety surfacing, the matting continues the impression to the bottom of the hill. Impressions for the concrete trail and the trail within the resilient safety surfacing were created from molds by Chiodo Studios.


Other park improvements include benches around the tot-play area, tables and benches in the central plaza of the park, site lighting and a prefabricated restroom.

Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey is headquartered in Mill Valley, Calif., just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, and has an office in San Francisco. The 40-plus person firm has been doing landscape architecture for 50 years.






Playground Equipment

Mario Chiodo Studios

  • CusTom Play Equipment (and hill, ant sculptures, ant impression mold)

Kompan

  • Pointed Shifter (M702400P)
  • Quasar Stabile and Rocking Tube (GXY 17028)

Big Toys

  • Rock and Cross (ME05)

Landscape Structures

  • Tot swing (139908A)School-Age swing (139910A)
  • Slide, Belt Bridge, Bubble Panels, Loop Arch

Boldr

  • Goat Rock climbing structure

Totturf by Robertson Industries

  • Resilient Safety Surfacing







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December 10, 2019, 7:04 pm PDT

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