Karen Kiest LA | International Childrens Park


Title: The Dragon Has Returned

Project: International Children’s Park

Firm: Karen Kiest Landscape Architects (KKLA)

Summary: The Dragon sculpture created for the original park by Gerard Tsutakawa, has been returned to a renovated International Children’s Park in the Chinatown/International District. Artist Stuart Nakamura has created new playful art elements to respond to the multicultural context.

The renovation improves visibility and provides opportunities for additional play elements, and greater multigenerational uses. The park design stretches the utilizable park space, creating a larger lawn and play area along a loop walk. Sustainable design strategies include preservation of existing trees, restoration of the original pavilion, re-use of granite boulders, and installation of a Tai Chi plaza of permeable brick paving.

In 2007, The Friends of International Children’s Park partnered with the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington and the Wilderness Inner-city Leadership Development (WILD) program to initiate the design process. The park received funding from the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy, the Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF), and private donors. The International Special Review District Board reviewed and approved the project, including the pan-Asian plant palette.