Janne Saario / Jolie Crider Memorial Skatepark

Excerpts from The New York Times, Oct 2019

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 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…

BY ALEXANDRA LANGE, The New York Times

All photos by Mike Wolanin, The Republic Newspaper

Time magazine

The Skater Turned Architect

“Janne Saario’s life rarely veers from skateboarding. The breezy former pro-skateboarder from Helsinki, 33, has turned a passion for skating into a calling, becoming one of the few landscape architects in the world to have devoted his entire practice to designing skateparks for young people, breaking away from the brutalist stereotypes of harsh concrete slopes and pyramids to create site-specific parks drawing heavily from their natural surroundings.

It is not money that drove him to design 35 skateparks in the span of a decade, but rather a social desire to turn urban spaces into a place for teenagers to express themselves; especially outsiders who don’t identify with conventional sports. ‘Young people are our hope and future, and by offering beautiful and meaningful surroundings to grow, like wonderful skateparks, we can make a positive change on their picture of the world and future behavior,’ he says.”

From Next Generation Leaders, 2016, Time Magazine