The kid recently had a birthday party nearby, so I took K2 with me to visit Lake Anne Plaza, the original center of Reston, Virginia, a novelty of mid-century modernist urban planning. Reston was founded in 1963, a white flighty attempt to create an ideal, city-centered community from scratch, far from the problems of the real city.
The master plan and the first phase of the development, Lake Anne Plaza, was designed by James Rossant, a former student of Walter Gropius, who cited Portofino as an inspiration. Yeah, that's the ticket.
Rossant designed the townhouses on the lakefront plaza, along with the retail and civic buildings, a church, and the lone condo tower, all in a competent but unremarkable brick modernist style. What I can't tell is if Rossant is also responsible for Lake Anne's kind of awesome concrete playgrounds.
They look awesome, anyway. Also a little harsh. K2 liked scampering/wandering around the play area with a boat-shaped indentation near the lake. And she liked the maze-like concrete ziggurat tucked into some trees even more. It's funny how threatening these things look to the modern parent's eye. And yet, they're fine.
If the playground structures weren't by Rossant, I'd guess they are by M. Paul Friedberg, one of the great modern playground and landscape designers, whose firm did design some adventure playground sites in other parts of Reston. I guess I could check around. Though not with Rossant, who passed away last December.