Landscape Architect & Specifier News

JUN 2015

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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(Continued on page 28) p l a y g ro u n d 26 Landscape Architect and Specifier News Above The 3,500 square foot playground features nine play features by Lexington Design + Fabrication, ranging from slides and a rope climber to xylophones and play mounds one to four feet in height. PHOTOS COURTSEY OF JIM SIMMONS Los Angeles-based landscape architecture firm Rios Clementi Hale Studios had the design challenge of expressing the multicultural diversity of the City of Angels in its design for Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles. The 12-acre park resides between the Music Center and City Hall. Faced with a site divided by two city streets and a challenging 90-foot grade change, the landscape architects softened Bunker Hill's incline with pedestrian-friendly and ADA-accessible ramps and broad steps. "J-Ramps" extended existing below- grade ramps to the north and south to create a series of central terraces (dining, event seating, general gathering places) with drought-tolerant plants and a grand event lawn, all leading down into the park from Grand Avenue to the restored Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain. The park opened to acclaim in 2012. In November 2014, the park got a new playground. Located at the east end of the park between Broadway and Spring Street, the playground is a fanciful forest for youngsters to experience an urban style tree house, slides, a rock climber and more. Rios Clementi Hale Studios designed the playground, a collaborative effort of firm memebers Tony Paradowski, senior associate, John Stuart Fishback, landscape architect and associate and designer Chris Torres. At the heart of the 3,500 square foot playground is a tree house inspired steel frame structure painted lime green, with Brazilian ipe hardwood slates. The custom play structure by Lexington Design + Fabrication has an impressive 12-foot tall tube slide jutting from the side of the tree house; for the smaller kids, there's a four-foot high roller ramp at the other end. "We researched city playgrounds from all around the world, especially in Europe," explained lead designer Tony Paradowski of Rios Clementi Hale Studios. "The tower design gives children a sense of what it's like to climb a tree in an urban forest." The playground's safety surfacing offers a 'forest floor' of larger-than-life leaf shapes in a variety of nature-inspired colors. "The leaves are placed in a random pattern to appear as if they've been blown off the trees," says Paradowski. "We wanted kids to feel like they're playing in a mound of fallen leaves." As the mature sycamore trees placed in the playground grow, their boughs will LASN Editor, Steve Kelly Fanciful Forest Playground at Grand Park, Los Angeles

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