about kirke park

The Story Behind the park

Kirke Park has a rich and unusual history. Before becoming a park, the site was home to a millennial sect known as the Church of Seventh Elect in Spiritual Israel — led by a charismatic, itinerant preacher — for more than 90 years. Read more here….

Kirke Park Design

Above: An early Kirke Park design sketch, by local landscape architecture and urban planning firm Site Workshop. The central central pergola and the “skate dot” were not completed during the original construction. A neighbor-driven fundraiser added the pergola in 2013.

Nestled in a dense residential neighborhood, Ballard’s Kirke Park was designed by local landscape design firm Site Workshop; the design reflects both the site’s past and the neighborhood’s future.

The design is loosely patterned after the rooms of a home, playing homage to the community that was once housed on the site. At the center of the park, a “front porch” invites visitors to gather at a suite of picnic tables sheltered by a stately wooden pergola. Two large lawns spill out on either side of the central plaza, providing “family room” open space for community events, lounging, and informal play. A variety of playground structures and an adventure trail continue the playroom motif on one end of the park. A p-patch community garden and an orchard on the other end reference the way the former occupants grew their own food. Tucked into a nook between ruined walls of the old church is an ornamental garden, offering a quiet space for reflection.

The park design mixes together creative and physical play, exploration, discovery, and community — and celebrates the beauty of the natural world.

Design Awards
  • Design Excellence, Seattle Design Commission, 2014 (scroll down to see Kirke Park’s information).
  • Award of Honor for General Design/Public Ownership from the Washington Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (WASLA), 2019. Read the full project description (and see lots of great photos!).
  • Two-star SITES rating, recognized as a compact site that promotes human health and well-being, as well as environmental health through stormwater management, native plantings, and healthy soil.
A large lawn provides ample space for informal ball games, sunbathing, yoga, and early morning doggie meet-ups.
The “Front Porch” of the park welcomes visitors to gather at picnic tables under a wooden pergola.
The south end of the park is for play, with a climbing structure, double “dish” swings, and a sandbox.
The north end of the garden includes a cosy picnic area, an orchard, and a community P-Patch garden — outfitted with a charming shed.
A four-quadrant “secret” ornamental garden sprouts from the church ruins, giving visitors scope for imagination.
Meandering behind the playground is a nature path, full of secret spots and potential for adventure.