Esplanade Playspace

Boston, Massachusetts

As a part of a grassroots neighborhood initiative, Halvorson Design created a playspace for middle school-aged children to develop their gross motor skills along the Esplanade. The intensive community process involved a hands-on Back Bay neighborhood group, The Esplanade Association and DCR, with input from area schools on programmatic uses. After evaluating several sites, the design team chose its location near the Hatch Shell for its context and proximity to other amenities. 

The playspace is oriented with its front door facing a major pedestrian intersection with maximized seating and a gateway designed to guide visitors into the play area. The equipment offers a challenging adventure play experience for older children with custom designed pieces including a rock wall structure, bridge and sculptural climbing piece. 

By working with an arborist, Halvorson Design was also able save a number of the site’s mature trees and develop a maintenance plan for their lifespan.


0.75 acres



Robert Adams ASLA



The Esplanade Association

David Phillips, Mitch Ryerson

Civil Engineer:

MEP Engineer:
Architectural Engineers, Inc.

Irrigation Designer:
Irrigation Consulting, Inc.

Soils Consultant:
Pine & Swallow Environmental