The Southbank Centre has been working on new designs for their new £1m skate park and unleashed this press release today.
They asked Iain Borden, Professor of Architecture and Urban Culture at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, and Rich Holland, an architectural designer at Floda31, who has made many skateable installations and sculptures – and both are skaters – to prepare a draft design brief earlier this summer. They then invited three architectural practices to respond to the brief – 42 Architects, SNE Architects and Rich Architects – who all have experience in designing skateable spaces.
The architects were asked to respond to designing a space, which transferred many of the physical aspects of the existing space, with the following qualities:
• Not looking like an explicitly-designed or purpose-built skatepark
• Not having any skatepark forms e.g. full pipes or large transitions
• Urban and gritty in appearance, for example using materials commonly found in non-skatepark urban spaces, such as bricks, flagstone paving, granite, stone or rougher concrete surfaces
• Provide a distinctive overall design quality or character, which is open and transient
• Facilitating or encouraging the site being appropriated or taken over by stakeboarding and other urban arts
• And being highly visible to the public, whilst welcoming approaches which integrate the public within the space.
• NEW, PERMANENT SPACE IS 120 METRES UP RIVER, 10% LARGER THAN EXISTING SKATE SPACE
• ARCHITECT WILL BE SELECTED WITH EXPERT PANEL OF SKATERS
• DESIGNS WILL BE SHARED AT EVENT THIS WEEKEND WITH SOUTHBANK CENTRE’S COMMUNITIES AS PART OF FESTIVAL WING CONSULTATION
Southbank Centre today (9 September) released design options by three architectural practices, which show what an alternative skateable space could look like under Hungerford Bridge – just 120m from the current undercroft and 10% larger than the current space. The designs demonstrate three different potential approaches to transform this area into a permanent, riverside skateable space and are part of Southbank Centre’s Festival Wing consultation process.
Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, said: “These architects’ designs show what a great public urban space this could be. We want skating and other urban arts to continue to flourish at Southbank Centre and we hope these proposals show we’re committed to a permanent, riverside skate space right next to the Royal Festival Hall.
“We also understand that community sites like these are enormously enhanced by organic development through the use and input of the users themselves, which is why I emphasise that these designs are not set in stone. We welcome input from the skateboarders who regularly use the undercroft and any other skaters, graffiti writers or BMXers who want to be involved in helping develop the design.”
The next step in the process is that a selection panel will be formed with representatives of interested communities including the skating community who are being invited to take part. The panel will be responsible for selecting the architect they’d most like to work with, finalising the design brief and developing the design. It could then be ready in a year’s time.
The Long Live Southbank campaigners responded to these plans overnight: