Santa Rosa Park is a quaint, quiet park tucked away in between various mixed developments in a suburban neighborhood of San Luis Obispo, CA; a city beloved for its beautiful scenery, and small size. Yet, Santa Rosa Park remains lost, haphazardly organized, and lacks a center to unify the separate existing elements (a playground, skate park, and baseball fields). Although San Luis Obispo is known for its abundant undeveloped surroundings, Santa Rosa Park is one of the few places where residents can enjoy open space daily within the urban fabric. The picturesque land and mountains surrounding the city are often taken for granted, or seldom used.
Historically, parks have evolved from open, landscaped areas to include other facilities such as playgrounds, museums, zoos, etc., because of their free land for the city to use; green space is less important. However, adding just another building to this park would seem to be the antithesis of the environment-conscious community that embodies the identity of San Luis Obispo. Instead of adding additional program to the park to augment interest, the pre-existing characteristics of the park will be amplified. The architecture will assist in bringing the “background” to the “foreground” through three separate pathways clashing in a central courtyard.
The "local" path employs water and rugged stone to bring attention to the materials found in the park, while also leading one to a hidden creek on the property. The "regional" path encourages one to turn their attention away from the park onto the surrounding vistas of greater San Luis Obispo. Finally, the "celestial" path consists of a neutral white concrete to capture the sun's path in which it directs for a more spiritual atmosphere. Each path is composed to enhance one’s awareness of the natural phenomena experienced in the park. Similar to a pavilion, the design acts as a transition between architecture and nature; activity and inactivity; play and relaxation; all vital roles of the park. The lines between interior, exterior, visibility, and invisibility are blurred. It offers an organic softness in contrast to the solid, unforgiving built world.