St. Louis, Missouri
Taylor Park is a unique, multi-generational play space and community gathering space located in the Central West End in St. Louis, Missouri, roughly one-fifth acre in size. As the only playground for children in the neighborhood, the residents assisted the design team in developing a program anchored in Mitsuru Senda’s theory of play sand, the desire that it should also be a multi-generational urban community gathering space. The playground elements include: places of nature; adventure places such as hideouts, tunnels, overlooks, and sky-frames; open-closed spaces; storied places of discovery; places of dizziness and symbolic high places all spatially linked through the multiplicity and porosity of the pattern. It allows a variety of forms of play including formal structured vs. informal play; collective vs. individualistic play; active vs. contemplative play; and determined vs. inventive play. The free-form central space includes climbing rocks, sensory gardens, a pea gravel play-area, and an overlook of the community gathering area. Since the playground will operate at night, there is a “starlight canopy” suspended over the entire playground that highlights and focuses on the adjacent glowing dome of the St. Louis Cathedral.
Meetings were conducted with many local residents to determine the program and character of the playground. It was decided that the playground should be unique; it should be handicapped accessible; it should be as safe as possible; and it should offer creative recreational opportunities to multiple age groups. Their ideas translated into the design concept of a multi-level ramping play space where the natural landscape & the built environment operate in harmony blurring the traditional notions of how and where one can play and what is & is not formal play spaces. The main structure consists of a Structural Steel Post & Beam System with Wood Decking, Poured in Place Concrete Foundation Walls, and Custom Wood Framing. Enclosure System Includes Custom Steel Railings & Fencing, Custom Wood & Steel Framed Components, and a Custom Fabricated Sculptural Steel Fence. Green Systems include a 100’ Green Screen Wall and a Cable System for Supporting the 17’ tall Perimeter Bamboo Wall.