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.