South Park in San Francisco, California (USA)

South Park in San Francisco, California (USA)

South Park is San Francisco’s oldest public park and is situated in the heart of the South of Market area of the town. An English-style walk garden serves as a template of the park created in 1865.

After the park had become increasingly outdated over the years and the deterioration had begun, there was an emphasis placed on its restoration with an initiative of the Recreation Park Department, of the South Park Improvement Association and residents of the park.

Under the mark of the award-winning landscape architecture office, Fletcher Studio Landscape Architecture, a design has come about which can be described as a contemporary interpretation of the English strolling garden, which is superior in every way to the splendour of the original South Park.

Besides the installation of a new infrastructure which, among other things, includes new paths, modern lighting and a stage area for performances, it is its flowing design which particularly catches the eye. In the centre, there is also a customised production of the Berliner Seilfabrik (Berlin rope factory), which - in the shape of two parallel bent pipes, running side-by-side - harmonises perfectly along with the hilly surroundings.

While the shape of the structure, from a bird’s eye view, appears to be like two circles touching each other, a completely different picture is presented from the side: Throughout the route, there are significant changes in altitude, reaching 0.6 to 3 metres, along with the hilly ground. Between the steel frames, there is an extensive network with different mesh widths so that there is scope for climbing around it, meaning that it offers different challenges. Thanks to the transparent character of the nets, the structure always stays clear for spectators.

Anywhere where shapes are anchored in the ground, the hills are modelled in such a way that the foundation supports are not visible. Thus, the play equipment looks light - even partly floaty. Furthermore, the modern - almost industrial - choice in colour strengthens the sculptural character. For David Yosso, President of the Specified Play Equipment Company, the South Park Design is a “sculptural, playful piece of art, which has an inspiring effect on all age groups.”

In order not to cut off the specified transparency of the design from the planners as result of technical details, the Berlin Charlotte Connector was inserted between the rope and steel pipe. This means that the rope end in the inside of the bent tubular steel disappears and is anchored without visible grouting or hooks in the tubular structure. The rope ends are easy to install, adjust and even re-tighten.

Given the fact that numerous architects and agencies are located at South Park, the creation of a characteristic meeting point seems to be effective: The design of the redesigned South Park has been purposeful in fulfilling the needs of the children in terms of exercise and playing, and the aesthetic requirements of the adult public.

Photo: Berliner Seilfabrik

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