Last Friday GreenWorks was delighted to host Design Museum Mornings: Nature Play in the City at the Center for Architecture in Portland’s Pearl District. Drawing an enthusiastic crowd of about fifty—everyone from early childhood education professionals and community organizers, to fellow landscape architects and nature play experts—the event included a fun social session with breakfast provided by GreenWorks followed by a comprehensive lecture on Westmoreland Nature-Based Play Area by GreenWorks’ Landscape Architect, Ben Johnson.
Ben, who has gained a reputation as a nature-based play specialist, began by sharing academic research on the subject, including the benefits of risky play and exposure to nature at a young age, before moving on to the vision and design process at Westmoreland. He outlined the successful Public Engagement process lead by Elizabeth Kennedy-Wong at Portland Parks and Recreation, who brought the community together early on to support the project and also described Adam Kuby’s role as the project Artist who had an integral role throughout the visioning and construction phases.
From the structural integrity of the massive logs and boulders, which are meant to encourage balance and climbing, to the carved stones which capture the journey of rain water, every detail of the space was carefully analyzed through multiple lenses including sustainability, safety, childhood development, and design.
GreenWorks had a fantastic time working with Design Museum Portland, a pop-up museum whose mission is to “educate the world about design,” and look forward to following their work around the city.
Missed the lecture? Interested in learning more? Check out our award-winning work on Westmoreland’s Nature-Based Play Area here and here!
Westmoreland Park has been featured in the Design Museum Foundation’s recently published “Design and Play” book, which is based on their nationally-traveling exhibit Extraordinary Playscapes. The book examines the art, history, science, and importance of play, and explores the latest thinking in playground design. The coauthors, Sam Aquillano and Amanda Hawkins, do an amazing job at telling the stories behind these incredible play spaces, while emphasizing the positive impact free play has on childhood development, thriving communities, and social equity. The GreenWorks team is honored to have Westmoreland featured as an exceptional, international playscape. We would like to thank Adam Kuby and Portland Parks and Recreation for their collaboration throughout this project. Please visit the Design Museum’s website for more information: https://designmuseumfoundation.org/portland/
What a difference a couple of weeks makes! Columbia Tech Nature Play Area is taking shape. Project Manager Ben Johnson was in the field and captured these shots of the progress. Kudos to contractor Rotschy, Inc. and to Columbia Cascade for crafting the custom wood play structures and embankment slide.
The Columbia Tech Nature Play Area is under construction! GreenWorks was hired by PacTrust to design a new nature play area within the Columbia Tech Center in Vancouver, Washington. Columbia Tech Center is a 410-acre mixed use development that includes a 12-acre park that promotes a live-work balance for the community. The new 25,000 square foot playground will become the heart of the park and will be a significant amenity for the development.
Our special thanks to PacTrust and contractor, Rotschy Inc.
Adam Kuby, artist and our partner on the Westmoreland Park Nature Play Area, sent us this link to an interesting article about public art. Westmoreland Park is featured. Thanks Adam!
GreenWorks was hired by The Port of Camas-Washougal to design a new nature play area. The play area will be a highlight along a mile-long trail that begins at Washougal Waterfront Park and meanders along the shoreline of the Columbia River. The focal point in the play area is a large existing boulder nicknamed “Erric the Erratic” and playful sculpture of a sasquatch pulling the boulder out of the earth. The Port is seeking a name for the sasquatch. To submit your idea, visit the website: http://portwaterfrontparks.com/sasquatch/
GreenWorks is working with NW Playground and ID Sculptures to create this unique play element.
Ben Johnson will be taking part in two panel discussions at the Children and Nature Symposium, organized by the Intertwine Alliance. Ben will be contributing to conversations on “Rethinking Risk and Liability in Outdoor Spaces” and “Optimizing Creative Play – a New Way to Look at Playgrounds.”
Where: Oregon Zoo (4001 Southwest Canyon Road, Portland, OR 97221) in the Cascade Crest ballroom
When: Mon, Mar 13, 2017, 9:00 AM
For more info: http://www.theintertwine.org/calendar/children-nature-schools-symposium-finding-new-ways-help-our-students-thrive-0
Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/children-nature-schools-symposium-and-green-schools-tour-tickets-31112227510
GreenWorks recently received a 2015 National APA Award for Excellence in Sustainability in the category of Sustainable Parks, Open Space and Recreation for their work at Westmoreland Nature Play area. GreenWorks worked with Portland Parks and Recreation to replace an aging playground with an innovative nature play area at the same time that Portland Bureau of Environmental Services led a stream enhancement /fish habitat improvement project on Crystal Springs Creek, which is adjacent to and an inspiration for the nature play area. The Award recognized both projects for creating a new place that connects watershed health, human health and livability.
Westmoreland Nature-Base Play Area was honored as one of the best public art projects of the year by Americans for the arts. Click here for more details.
Khunamokwst Park is set to open this Saturday, April 25th! You can find more information here. Head on over this weekend and check it out!
Courtesy of R&R General Contractors and SkyShots Aerial Photography
Check out the links below to see the most recent articles about our exciting nature-based play area projects around Portland!
This Metro Parent article includes a map of nature play areas in the Portland metro region and stars 8 GreenWorks projects: The All-Natural Playground
The Oregonian on Marshall Park: Q&A: Creator of ‘Children at Nature Play’ signs hopes to get more kids outdoors
Landscape Architecture Magazine on Westmoreland: Go Wild, Oregon Child
Westmoreland Nature Play was recently recognized by the Oregon Chapter of ASLA with an Honor Award for design. We would like to thank our entire team for all their contributions. Thanks especially to Portland Parks and Recreation for their support and desire to connect kids with nature.
Children can move and manipulate loose parts of the play area to create a fort and tailor their own play experience. The Sequoia branches were taken from the grove of trees in the park
Logs and boulders are arranged in a variety of ways to provide climbing and balancing challenges for kids of all ages. The logs in the foreground are extensions that lead kids between the Mountain Mound and Log Tilt in the background.
The Large Log Climbers in the background hint at what it is like to climb trees. In the foreground, one of the six carved stones tells the story of rainwater’s journey from the forest to the stream.
The creek channel is an 80’ long and meanders along a large sand pit. Water weaves its way around recycled concrete cubes and boulders and under willow domes to provide a unique play experience. Kids use sand to create dams to divert water into the sand play area.
The hand pump is the metaphorical source of Crystal Springs located at the top of the Creek Mound. The kids at the pump have the power to activate the “stream” and can direct the water with weirs through several different channels down the Concrete Mound to the main creek channel.
Construction at Kʰunamokwst Park is well over the half-way point and is starting to show off some the features. Much of the sidewalks are paved, and the skatedot and stonework in the water feature and play area are nearing completion. One of the main features of the park includes a stone carving of a Douglas Fir Cone which will be placed in the play area for kids to climb. Images below show progress on some of the main features.
The Douglas Fir cone in-progress by artist/stone carver Mauricio Saldana.
Emerald Masonry is artfully arranged in the play area to provide a physical connection to the Columbia Gorge.
Stonework in the water feature.
Evergreen Skateparks has completed the perimeter walls and deck of the skatedot.
On any given day, Portland’s brand new nature-based play area at Westmoreland Park is packed with up to a hundred kids playing in the sand and water area, climbing on the boulder and log climbing features, or building forts with large sequoia branches. Parents are not only watching the imaginative play that all the natural elements inspire, but are also participating with the kids to explore the play area’s unique features. Located in the Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood of Portland, Westmoreland Nature Play Area was born of the desire to update the existing outdated play area and replace it with a 100% custom nature-based play environment. The total play area is approximately one acre and allows families to build their own play experience. The project received a 2014 Honor Award from the Oregon Chapter of American Society of Landscape Architects.
GreenWorks was selected by Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) to update the existing outdated playground and replace it with a 100% custom nature-based play environment. PP&R recognized the value in nature-based play for local children and proposed that the Westmoreland Playground be a pilot project for a natural play environment. GreenWorks worked with the client, public, and design team to define how nature-based play would function for this particular site. The design team included environmental artist, Adam Kuby. Adam not only helped envision individual artistic elements within the park as play features, but also collaborated with the design team on the overall conceptual design of the playground that represents the restoration of the adjacent Crystal Springs.
A 4 year-old is verifying the willow whips are secure along the creek channel.
Logs extend from the Mountain Mound (back right) and are situated to provide connection to the log tilt (back left).
Kid’s take turns at the farm pump on top of the creek mound to activate the water in the sand and water play area.
Rope helps kids climb up and down the log climbers.
Branches were trimmed by PP&R to provide better visual access through the adjacent Sequoia grove and loose parts that were used to make a make-shift fort.
The next park in NE Portland has begun construction and has been officially named. Formerly known as the Werbin Property, the site will be called Kʰunamokwst Park (pronounced KAHN-ah-mockst). Kʰunamokwst is Chinook wawa for “together”. Chinook wawa is the language commonly used by the original people of this area. The groundbreaking ceremony took place on August 7th with Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz and Director Mike Abbate, joined by neighbors and project partners, to unveil the name and officially celebrate the beginning of construction of the first developed park in the Cully neighborhood. GreenWorks was the prime designer for the park starting from the Master Plan through construction. Features of the park include a combination of traditional and nature-based play, skatedot, public art, a modest picnic shelter with an eco-roof, walking paths, sustainable stormwater facilities, half-street improvements, native plantings, and an open lawn for neighborhood events and passive recreation.