Monday, February 14, 2011

Mid-Century Modern Playground!

When I was a kid, I used to go to Piedmont Park often with my Dad and my sister. We would ride bikes or roller skate, and play on the super awesome modern art playground. I went back to see the playground about six years ago, and it was in sad shape. It was a mess, and a lot of the equipment was roped off and not in playing condition. *BUT* this weekend we went back with our daughter and it is all shiny and new! And still the most amazing looking playground I've ever seen. It was designed by a Japanese-American scupltor named Isamu Noguchi (!!!). It was originally built in 1976, then refurbished in 1996 and 2009. There have been a lot of things that I'm not super proud of in terms of Atlanta's infrastructure, planning and restoration projects, but this playground makes me glad to be a Georgia peach. There's a fantastic article about the playscape here at, which is a fantastic art website in general. Here are some of my own photos of the playscape. Some contain my little monkey child and my handsome husband. Some don't... Taking pictures of a playground without feeling like a creeper is not easy. Trust me.
The twirly tower thing is the coolest slide ever. You wind up the staircase on the inside, then slide down the outside. It's all very metal/concrete modern, but awesome. The block formations are in a few areas of the playscape. They are so cool!
Another view of the tower. And my family. :)
Towards the middle of the playscape is this cool mound. It's smooth, and while you think kids would be less than enthused by a round semi-circle, they all seem to love it. It's neat because it is near a large sandpit that is a similar size (and is also a circle) so it almost seems like you could just pick it up and plop it on top. Of course, I'm sure it's really about art and positive and negative space, but either way, it's lovely.
Here's the giant sandpit. My daughter loves sand. Especially getting it in every nook and cranny on her body.
There are also several of these geometric shaped monkey bars (or maybe just two...) but they are amazing looking. Kids love all of the holes in these pieces. Peekaboo possibilities are endless.
Check out this swingset!! Gorgeous. I love the color they chose.
My daughter loves this one. It has monkey bars across the top in the inside. Look at the pretty gray inside!
Here's Roxanne standing on the mound again. You can see the awesome swing set again. And some more of the playscape itself.
Another slide. This thing is incredible. Clean lines, fantastic materials, and it never gets congested with kids because it has the three slides. Roxanne can only do the middle (little) one for now, but someday she'll be on the big ones!
Tada! Lovely!


  1. That's great, so glad to read that it was restored and still used so many years later.

  2. Oooh what a beautiful playground!

  3. I think it's interesting that most people, myself included, think of tables and lamps when they think of Noguchi, but he considered himself a sculptor above all else, and that is what the official Noguchi website calls him. His gardens and playscapes and fountains were urban sculpture. We're lucky that both our cities have his installations. (Fort Worth has sculptures in a downtown plaza.)

  4. Oh, wow...I'm so glad you posted about this, because in looking for a picture of the downtown installation, I remembered that there was another Noguchi sculpture garden at one of the museums. I'd completely forgotten it was there!

  5. Thanks for stopping by everyone! I'm glad others appreciate this playscape. It really is amazing. What a great way to teach kids to appreciate art and form. And Dana, you are right about Noguchi. His abilities as a sculptor just make his furniture all the more breathtaking. I read in the article I linked to that he tried to get his playscape built in other cities but Atlanta's High Museum was the only institution to give him funding/permission to construct it. Lucky us, indeed! I'll have to check out the sculptures in Fort Worth.