Columbus, Ind., is known as a mecca of postwar modern architecture, with churches, libraries, and post offices designed by Eliel and Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Harry Weese and a host of other big names. The city’s latest destination is somewhat smaller: a skatepark, albeit one with an international design pedigree. Jolie Crider Memorial Skatepark 2.0, designed by Janne Saario, a Finnish landscape architect and former professional skater, opened in early September. The skatepark bridges the past and future of Columbus, with Mitchell Giurgola Architects’ 1972 Columbus East High School right across the street.
The podcast “99 Percent Invisible” got Mr. Saario the job: Jonathan Nesci, a designer who lives in Columbus and is the father of a skater, cold-emailed the architect after listening to “The Pool and the Stream,” a 2017 episode about the connection between curvaceous swimming pools and skatepark design featuring Mr. Saario. Mr. Nesci eventually gave Mr. Saario one of his mirror-polished side tables in return for a conceptual design. Hunger Skateparks, in Bloomington, Ind., signed on to build the $400,000, 14,000-square-foot project, with support from the city, the county’s Heritage Fund, the Columbus Park Foundation and local donors. The new concrete skatepark is far more durable than its predecessor, as well as more seamlessly integrated into the landscape, reflecting the same investment in advanced design as those public works of the 1950s and 1960s.