Noguchi Playground

Added by admin, last update: August 17, 2012, 1:15 pm

Noguchi Playground
12th Street Gate, Piedmont Park
Atlanta, GA 30361
United States
33° 47' 3.4872" N, 84° 22' 39.9252" W
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Identity of Building / Site
Primary classification: Recreation (REC)
Secondary classification:
Federal, State, or Local Designation(s) and Date(s):
History of Building/Site
Original Brief:
Dates: Commission / Completion:1975/1976
Architectural and other Designer(s): Isamu Noguchi was born in Los Angeles in 1904, and died in New York City in 1988. He attended high school in Indiana, and his experience in the American Midwest was central to his artistic vision. Educated as an artist in New York City, Noguchi developed friendships with such figures as R. Buckminster Fuller and Martha Graham, and he embraced the social and political ideals of New York artists of the 1930s. As an important sculptor of the New York School he rose to prominence during the 1940s, and his base of operations remained New York City throughout his life. In 1961 Noguchi moved his home and studio across the East River from Manhattan to Long Island City, and here he established the Noguchi Museum in 1985. In addition to his work in New York, Isamu Noguchi created landscape projects and public sculpture throughout the United States.
Others associated with Building/Site:
Significant Alteration(s) with Date(s):
Current Use: Public playground
Current Condition: Fair
General Description:

Inside a low undulating wall that provides visual and aural protection from the surrounding streets, Noguchi installed a group of brightly colored, rugged sculptural elements. The structures include swings, slides, cubes, a low mound and several objects for climbing. All of the elements were oversized and painted in bright colors to emphasize their sculptural presence. According to the artist, the relationships among the different elements in Playscapes refer to relationships among elements in ancient environments of leisure.

Construction Period:
Original Physical Context:

The creation of playgrounds and play sculpture was an important part of Isamu Noguchi's attempt to make sculpture useful in everyday life. Noguchi designed his first pieces of play equipment in 1939 for Ala Moana Park in Hawaii, but these were not constructed. When Noguchi designed Playscapes (1975-76) in Atlanta's Piedmont Park, the only Noguchi playground to be completed in his lifetime, he included a modified version of the swing from his Hawaiian proposal along with new play objects. In 1968 Octetra -- a pre-cast, modular play sculpture over and through which children climb -- was installed outside the cathedral in Spoleto, Italy and in Kodomo No Kuni park outside of Tokyo. Noguchi continued to design new play sculptures, some of which have been installed in his last playground project, Moere Numa Park in Sapporo, Japan.

Technical Evaluation:
Cultural & Aesthetic:
Along with his gardens and other landscape projects, the playgrounds of Isamu Noguchi are aspects of what he called "the sculpture of spaces", whose goal is to make sculpture a useful part of everyday life.

Playscapes realized designs for playground equipment that Noguchi had developed throughout his career.

General Assessment:
Text references:
Recorder/Date: Jon Buono
P.O. Box 230977
New York, NY 10023
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