Kickflips & Curb Cuts: new skateparks shaping urban design

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Kickflips & Curb Cuts: new skateparks shaping urban design

Skateboarding is its own urban experience. As interactive public spaces and tactile surfaces, skateparks have slowly started to shape the way we think about urban design. Beyond the boundaries of the parks themselves, skaters look at the architecture of the built environment outside of its intended purpose and, in turn, rethink how we come together, move and reimagine the future of urban life.

© Mikkel Frost© José Hevia© Achim Birnbaum© Lars Gartå+ 12

© Mikkel Frost
© Mikkel Frost

As editor-in-chief Vanessa Quirk explored in her editorial, since the 1970s, when skaters began to appropriate public spaces for their own skating purposes, architects have been complicit with city officials to discourage skating. skateboarding, from placing uprights on benches to placing skate stops at surface level. Designing with the skateboarder in mind means “not taking any intended use for granted, and at the same time realizing that your design will be used and transformed in ways you never could have imagined.” Fast forward almost a decade later, and many incredible skateparks have been built that influence urban design.

These ideas were explored in depth by Iain Borden in Skateboarding, space and city: architecture and body, as well as A Skateboarder’s Guide to Architecture by Bobby Young. As Borden notes, “Skateboarding started out in the seaside towns of California, as a surfing activity, mimicking the motions of surfing on the hard surfaces of townhouses and concrete. Skateboarding has always been about taking ownership. the city.” The following projects feature skate parks from around the world, each an exploration of what it means to move around the city, breathe new life into abandoned spaces, and how we can reclaim the architecture of modern life.

© Adrià Goula
© Adrià Goula

The program presents this new skatepark as a skate-square. The project works with the limits of the domain, taking advantage of the unevenness and the confinement of the tracks in order to place all the elements for skating. These are configured as walls, inclined planes, stairs, steps, platforms, benches, handrails, etc., all related to each other in a common language.

© Achim Birnbaum
© Achim Birnbaum

The Municipality of Stuttgart intended to build a roof for the skaterpark located in Friedhofstreet north of Stuttgart, which was built in 2008. The new housing allows the skater to use the park longer, as well as if he snow or rain.

© José Hevia
© José Hevia

A new skate facility for the town of Navarcles is designed as a plaza. The installation of skateboarding is seen as an opportunity to contribute to the urban development of the city, transforming a former sports area into a new public park. Standard public space materials are used to construct it, such as pedestrian sidewalks or massive granite ledges and “hubbas”.

Courtesy of Strelka KB
Courtesy of Strelka KB

The creation of a skate-spot under the skyway was part of the plan to reconstruct a Garden Ring (a circular avenue around the center of Moscow). Before the reconstruction, this place under the skyway was used as a parking lot. From now on, this public space is part of the social life of Moscow and a new pole of attraction for young people.

© Adrià Goula
© Adrià Goula

The new Nou Barris skate park is located on the cover of Ronda de Dalt, one of the largest road infrastructures in Barcelona. The skate park is the result of intense work with local users through a process of citizen participation, in order to create a skate park according to their needs.

© Mikkel Frost
© Mikkel Frost

Danish architecture and design firms CEBRA and Glifberg + Lykke have designed a multiple park and cultural center for street sports on the waterfront of Haderslev harbor in southern Denmark. StreetDome is a vast and unique cityscape for activities and recreation, comprising a 4,500 square meter skate park, as well as space for parkour, bouldering and more.

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