Multi-storey Skate Park
The English county of Kent will be home to the first ever Multi-storey Skate Park in the World. Guy Hollaway Architects has been appointed by billionaire Roger De Haan for the project.
The town is undertaking a regeneration of its centre. The project has come after the success of the recent Folkestone Triennial- an art festival where work for public spaces is created by artists and designers- due to which a surge in popularity was observed.
Guy Holloway feels that creating an opportunity for young people for recreation, sports and education will convince them against moving away from the city- this has been the thought behind the design of the Sports Park.
Three undulating concrete floors above the ground floor make up the park for Skaters and BMX riders. It is a controlled facility where beginners and the less adventurous can go from floor to floor via a ramp or an industrial lift. For the more experienced, the Park has a huge bowl in the centre of the upper floors from where bikers and skaters can drop 5 metres to the floor below. An attempt has been made to replicate parts of the world’s best skate parks inside the building.
The skating floors will be flanked by an 11 metre high climbing wall. The skin around these floors will be built of a metal mesh that will allow maximum daylight and natural ventilation. The ground floor that has a café, office and first- aid centre will be made of glass. The basement will hold a boxing facility.
The experience of the Skatepark will start right from the entrance, as the undulating surfaces above that form the ramps, moguls and ledges for skaters to perform, will be left exposed. These will be supported by curving concrete columns. Upon entering the facility one will be able to hear the skaters above and see the belly of the bowl. A roof-top terrace for cooling off has also been thought of.
The architect has designed the Park in collaboration with famous skaters and skatepark designers. The project is also open for public opinion. Imagining a multi-storey Skate Park brings to mind a continuous skating surface from floor to floor. Maybe such a proposal would have been too dangerous, or may simply have not been possible and thus the architect made do with the giant bowl instead. A greater three dimensional experience of the Park would have given it a different edge and an entirely new quality to the space. Nevertheless, with its exposed floors and the combination of sports activities put together, the design proposal is unique and interesting.
By: Sahiba Gulati