28. May 2018

Sono­ma Coun­try Day School, Cal­i­for­nia

Locat­ed in north­ern San­ta Rosa, Cal­i­for­nia, the Sono­ma Coun­try Day School, an inde­pen­dent TK-8 col­lege prepara­to­ry school, pro­vides stu­dents with state-of-the-art facil­i­ties, chal­leng­ing core aca­d­e­mics and a focus on the cre­ative and per­form­ing arts. For more than thir­ty years, it has been the school that “brings learn­ing to life.”

When it came time to design the play­ground, the school want­ed one that reflect­ed its mis­sion. They did not want a tra­di­tion­al-look­ing play­ground with tra­di­tion­al play­ground equip­ment. They want­ed some­thing dif­fer­ent, some­thing that was more chal­leng­ing for the chil­dren, some­thing that tru­ly reflect­ed the school.

Impor­tant ele­ments for the design includ­ed: incor­po­rat­ing an exist­ing hill and ele­va­tion into the plan, using nat­ur­al mate­ri­als, choos­ing the right col­ors and being cog­nizant of the envi­ron­ment. Berliner’s bam­boo-pan­eled play equip­ment, which look like wood, offer greater dura­bil­i­ty and are more eco­log­i­cal­ly friend­ly, fit their vision.

While incor­po­rat­ing the hill had its chal­lenges, such as access, the Berlin­er Triple Boo offered the per­fect solu­tion. The Triple Boo gives the look of a clas­sic play house with its bam­boo pan­els. Stand­ing 13 feet tall, it uti­lizes the space well by pro­vid­ing play space upward, max­i­miz­ing play space on a min­i­mal ground area. It also con­tains a 3-dimen­sion­al rope climb­ing web beneath it for kids to climb in and up to the tree house. The open tube pro­vides ADA access to the struc­ture, enabling play for all.

The 3-sto­ry Triple Boo sits atop the hill, cre­at­ing a focal point for the play­ground and a des­ti­na­tion for the chil­dren.

The Joe Brown Globe, a spatial net climber with a wooden frame and natural colors, is a unique wood play piece that complements the natural playground setting. Made of glued timber, the multiple layers of dried wood make it the premier choice for a natural material while offering maximum load capacity and minimal cracking or splintering. The foundation, made of powder-coated steel fitted into the wood elements, means there is no direct connection between the bottom of the wood structure and the soil, eliminating the possibility of moisture or water damage to the equipment.

At the bottom of the hill, you’ll find more bamboo-paneled play equipment, the 2-story Double Boo with spatial net connected to a Trii with a banister and ladder.

The O’Tannenbaum spinning tree enables kids to climb and spin at the same time. Except for its trunk, the entire tree rotates. The big rubber membrane surface with its low access height enables children with special needs to join the fun, providing a place where kids can sit while spinning.

The Double Cloud 9, an accessible swing, allows several children at one time to fly on the cloud and children with special needs can enjoy the swinging movement, too.

Other Berliner play structures that complement the natural playground setting:

Swinging to and fro all the time, the Cat Tail gives children a rocking play experience. The body and stem are made of stainless steel and have a bi-colored HDPE platform to make it more aesthetically pleasing, blending with the playground’s surroundings.

Children zoom from one side to the other using the 100-foot Speedway zip line. The Speedway is a fun cable ride without bulky supports. The two big steel arches allow for a more open design and can be equipped with a launch platform.

All in all, the Berliner design team successfully met the expectations of the school.