Thursday, October 7, 2010

Child's Play-Garden Failure

Having built one myself, and having watched it be played on and in unexpected ways, and having first-hand seen how it fails, I sympathize when a play-garden for children doesn't work out as intended. But this failure takes the cake. Obviously a lot of money went into it, but neither the designer, the builder, the homeowner, nor the American Society for Landscape Architects recognized the danger of a steep grass hill next to the exposed pointy corners of granite steps.

Additionally, this garden is located in San Francisco, where the scarce water supply will have to be used to irrigate all of that grass. And some poor schmuck will risk a nasty fall every time he mows the hill.

The ASLA gave this garden a big award, despite their very own code of ethics, which states that "The profession of landscape architecture, so named in 1867, was built on the foundation of several principles: dedication to the public health, safety and welfare, and recognition and protection of the land and its resources." This is a perfect example of artists losing sight of everything except aesthetics. Being a product of art school myself, all I can do is sigh. How very typical.


MrILoveTheAnts said...

Maybe their children wear safety helmets?

Anonymous said...

I really liked your comments, so true on design. Architects, often design for awards, even though they would never consciously admit to it.I know having gotten a few awards myself. It is so alluring, but a play area, which I have also designed three public playgrounds for the firm I worked for, has to be about safety and kids first and foremost. I wish I would have given it a pick of 5. My mistake. So this is for the next reader. Give this post a 5.

Michelle said...

Thanks Gardenwalk! I still haven't figured out what "picks" are all about. I think that feature of Blotanical is busted for me. I would love to see pictures of the playgrounds that you designed! Are they up somewhere online?

MrILoveTheAnts - you made me laugh!

Molly said...

I want to know if these people actually have children or if they just decided that a steep hill must be made fun by adding a slide?

BlushandBees said...

Thanks for the post Michelle. What a silly thing to design. As someone who has sprained her ankle mowing a slippery hill, I can empathize with the crew that has to maintain that lawn. Thanks also for linking to northcoast gardening, she's pretty much in my zone so it's good info for me!

Genevieve said...

Michelle, thanks so much for linking to that post. It's insane the variety of comments it's gotten - most recently a fellow who seemed to feel we were bashing on all of landscape architecture by finding fault with this one garden. It's funny how the safety and sustainability issues are obvious to us but not to Garden Design Magazine or the ASLA.

Your comment on art school was spot-on - my partner Trevor went to art school and experienced that kind of thing first hand.