Yerba Buena Gardens Children’s Center


The Yerba Buena Gardens is one part within a multi-faceted cultural complex, developed along the south edge of San Francisco’s urban core over the past 20 years. MPFP’s playground, on the roof of the Moscone Convention Center, uses the same ideals as those used in the 1970s when MPFP first transformed New York’s playgrounds using innovative play environments.

One of the keys to this strategy is focus on a three-dimensional landscape. Parts of the play environment were raised above the ground for the ability to look down, using a walk-way that becomes a spine through the site. Parents were also elevated above the fray by a series of catwalks, giving them a place to monitor the activity. These changes in elevation and topographies are perfect for children who tire of the predictability of adult landscapes.

Most importantly, the playground is charged with all sorts of learning apparatuses that describe scientific processes. MPFP was free to make the space more challenging and less predictable and the children are free to play at will.