Local government has given the go-ahead to a multi-tiered skatepark designed by Guy Hollaway Architects (GHA) to be built in the town of Folkestone, England. After multiple proposals from GHA and the design consultancy Maverick, the plans promise a state-of-the-art urban sports facility. This project's arrival comes at a time where skateparks face an uncertain future in Britain. Last year saw the closure of ad hoc skatepark Bristo Square in Edinburgh, Scotland. Down in London, plans to remove the iconic Southbank skatepark were halted by the "Long Live Southbank" group with the support of London mayor, Boris Johnson. This 10,700-square-foot structure features three floors, each containing quarter-pipes, ramps, and ledges. Two layers of metal mesh outline the skatepark to create natural ventilation on all three levels. In addition to skateboarding, the facility includes spaces for BMX-ing, rollerblading, and scootering. There are also plans for a bouldering gym, cycling center, boxing club, cafe, and rooftop area. With $12.8 million in funding secured from The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust, construction on the site can begin. The skatepark is expected to be ready for opening within the next two years. Folkestone's wider district of Shepway—and the members of the Shepway District Council, who approved the design—hope that it will become a national and international attraction while offering a recreational facility for local youth. With a monthly membership, residents will be offered lower prices as a way of protecting and expanding the local skate and BMX scene.
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Guy Hollaway Architects announces world’s first multi-story indoor skate park in UK seaside town; calls it “controlled adrenaline facility”
In a bid to keep restless youth from fleeing the sleepy seaside town of Folkestone, UK, for more hedonistic pastures, Guy Holloway Architects has conceptualized what is allegedly the “world’s first” multi-story indoor skatepark. The concept aims to create a larger skateable area without increasing the building footprint, and opening up new stunt possibilities by combining different floor heights. Those who dabble in trial cycling, boxing, and wall climbing are covered, too. Although the architects concede that installing continuous graded floors will be “an engineer’s nightmare,” with adequate planning, the facility can become not only an exemplary urban sports center but also an architecturally impressive edifice. Four stories will stand above ground. Below grade will be a subterranean boxing ring—the soon-to-be domicile of a local boxing club. Two undulating floor plates create a series of giant skateable bowls on the upper floors, whose sculptural form is visible from below. Brave skaters and bikers can plunge 16 feet to the level below. Meanwhile, the building’s outer skin will be transparent to communicate the hive of activity within. For the less adrenaline-inclined, ramps and industrial lifts are provided. The building, according to Hollaway, is a “controlled adrenaline facility.” The undulating surfaces provide ramps, moguls, and ledges for executing nosegrinds and tailslides, resulting in a cave-like entrance hall supported by curving concrete columns. “As you come in you’ll see the belly of the blow above you and hear the wheels of skaters above your head as well,” Hollaway told Dezeen. Collaborating with skatepark designers and “famous skaters,” the British architect is designing the building to lure beginners as well as top-notch talent. The team has bandied about ideas to replicate the best parts of the world’s skateparks and transplant them indoors.“We see this as an opportunity to put Folkestone on the map. To the best of our knowledge, this has never been done anywhere else in the world,” said Hollaway. The skatepark will occupy the site of a former bingo hall in the center of Folkestone, which is currently undergoing regeneration plans after its popularity spiked last year by dint of the Folkestone Triennial arts festival. Of the role his skatepark could play in this goal, Hollaway explained to Dezeen: “If you make childhood more meaningful through education, sport, and recreation, then it’s more likely they’ll invest in their town in the future and stay and maybe bring up their children in that town—that is what true regeneration is about.” If designs are approved, construction is set to begin in September this year and finish in 2016.