Wander Woods

Category: Play
San Francisco, CA

ZFA designed the structural supports of two natural playground structures at the California Academy of Sciences museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The playgrounds are located within the Wander Woods installation, an interactive outdoor space for children that aims to provide enjoyment and learning experiences, with various areas that encourage crawling, climbing, and other play activities.

The custom archway structure and lookout structure were built with woven tree branches sourced from the Presidio and Golden Gate Park. The archway structure is eight feet tall and spans approximately 13 feet, with ends of the arch supported by shallow reinforced concrete foundations. The lookout structure is approximately nine feet in diameter with a dome that extends approximately 14 feet above a deck platform, creating a small, covered space that is accessible to visitors. It includes arched bracing members made up of larger branches, supporting smaller woven branches to create a “nest” shape that surrounds the deck platform floor. The platform is supported by wooden log posts embedded in six-foot-deep drilled concrete piers.

Photo Credit: Jim Watkins Photography

Completed 2022
Architect Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds
Owner California Academy of Sciences