SPARK Child Care Center
(with Holly Ben-Joseph)
The SPARK center in Mattapan is affiliated with the Boston Medical Center and serves medically- intensive low-income children. Some of the children in the center have physical disabilities, others are blind, and others are HIV positive. The existing play yard with standard equipment did not meet the children’s diverse needs so SPARK approached Studio G to design a natural, therapeutic playground that would be accessible to all. The resulting design focuses on learning through all of the five senses, with areas that concentrate on the sensory experience of touch, sound, smell and taste as well as paths that meander out of sight. The playground design incorporates natural features such as hills, boulders, and logs rather than conventional manufactured play structures. Features include a path looping up into a hilly wooded area with a stone and tree stump circle in the shade, a sensory path with smooth boulders and moss alongside an existing historic stone wall, sound elements such as chimes and water bottles underneath rustling pine trees, a fragrant garden with lavender, rosemary and mint, a fruit garden with concord grape vines and blueberries, and garden planters for growing vegetables.