Willie “Woo Woo” Wong Playground

Where Chinatown Plays

A park and clubhouse are reimagined for generations to come.

All Star Park

This beloved neighborhood playground—today named for a Chinese-American, University of San Francisco basketball star—has served Chinatown residents of all ages since it opened in 1927. In 2018, San Francisco Recreation and Parks tapped CMG Landscape Architecture to lead a comprehensive renovation of the playground with Jensen handling the clubhouse remodel. Guided by the community’s aspirations, the team merged building and landscape, creating an indoor-outdoor community hub hosting everything from play dates to weddings.

City-sized Play Structure

Like Chinatown, one of the city’s densest neighborhoods, the playground makes the most of its half-acre site. Its three levels — upper courts, middle playground, and lower clubhouse — step down the steeply sloping block. Pathways, stairs and ramps, designed to ease the way for all, welcome visitors from all directions. Within these layers, the landscape becomes the building and the building becomes the landscape: the bridge expansion rests atop the clubhouse, which flows into the playground and down to the street below.

New Connections

Bold, yet economical gestures transform the clubhouse while reusing much of what was once an opaque, concrete box. Storefront windows and a stadium stair open a visible connection with Waverly Place and its bank of historic buildings. The interior is pared back and painted white, except for a mural by artist Julie Chang composed of classic Chinese symbols, “woven” on the grid of concrete blocks. The clubhouse becomes an indoor plaza that also is a place for ping-pong tournaments, classes and community meetings.

Ready for the Next Century

After using the playground for nearly 100 years, the Chinatown community was an expert on its historical importance and future purpose. In collaboration with San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, the design team engaged the community through a program of surveys, workshops, focus groups and meetings. CMG’s design celebrates the park’s history, restoring the pagoda and preserving murals, and it honors the community with a flexible, multi-use open space ready for the next century.

San Francisco Recreation & Parks
San Francisco


2022 AIA San Francisco, Urban Design Commendation
2022 AIA Regional & Urban Design Awards
2021 AN Best of Design Awards, Honorable Mention


Architects Magazine, “AIA Names Winners of the 2022 Regional & Urban Design Awards,” February 2022
Fast Company, “An iconic San Francisco park gets a masterful makeover,” November 2021
SF Chronicle, “A redone Chinatown park shows why public space matters in times like these,” February 2021
SF Chronicle, “Dragon breathes new life into S.F. Chinatown playground after $15 million renovation,” February 2021


Project Leads
Mark Jensen
Frank Merritt
Scott Davis
Project Team
Vanessa Moon
Andy Lin


Design Team Lead
CMG Landscape Architecture
Pivot Structural Engineering
HRA Engineering
Urban Design Consulting Engineers
McGinnis Chen Associates, Inc
Top Flight Specs
Construction Management
SF Public Works
Community Outreach
Playground Design & Build
Earthscape Play
Playground Installation
Community Playgrounds
Mural Artist
Julie Chang


CLW Builders


Bruce Damonte
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