“It was a great opportunity to get something in the downtown area that is a proper skate park,” Hawk told the Free Press. “This one is exciting, although it’s not our usual style of skate parks. At the same time, I want to support anything that is public and will be available for people to skate.” A skate park without a concrete base can be challenging to build, he said, but noted that modular skate ramp technology has improved considerably in the last ten years.Wayfinding is only temporary at this location, though. It's holding ground until Bedrock's latest development, Monroe Block, breaks ground in early 2018. The pieces will be moved to another part of the city when construction crews take over the site. Though the park is new, Hawk is no stranger to Detroit. He and his wife bought a home there last year, and in years past his eponymous foundation has donated to local philanthropic causes.
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This article appears in The Architect’s Newspaper’s April 2017 issue, which takes a deep dive into Florida to coincide with the upcoming AIA Conference on Architecture in Orlando (April 27 to 29). We’re publishing the issue online as the Conference approaches—click here to see the latest articles to be uploaded.
The Bro Bowl—an erstwhile icon of Tampa’s skateboarding scene—reopened last year with its spirit transposed to a graffiti-free imitation just a few hundred feet from its original footprint. While the skate park initially strained relations between the area’s skateboarders and the African American community—both made full-throated claims to the site—it seems that the new design has assuaged both sides.
Planner Joel Jackson, a City of Tampa employee who seized on what was then a sub-cultural sport, was inspired by the informal use of swimming pools and designed the Bro Bowl in the mid-seventies. Built in 1978 as part of the Perry Harvey, Sr. Park, the Bro Bowl was among the first skate parks in the country. For the activists involved with brobowl.org, the demolition of the landmark in 2015 marked the loss of a cultural and social memory, especially considering that the move effectively revoked its historic status. Other activists claim that the site was significant not simply as a nostalgic moment in history, but as a public commons essential to resisting the commercialization of private skate parks.
For some, however the removal of the Bro Bowl was a necessary part of a larger city-led effort to transform the Scrub neighborhood and Central Avenue drag. Many community leaders saw the redevelopment initiative as a method of reclaiming a bygone history of the African American experience in Tampa. The neighborhood has been occupied by African American families as far back as the Civil War, and has seen a growth of African American–owned businesses throughout the years. But under the auspices of urban renewal, some claim that much of this community was decentralized and even permanently lost. The redesign of Perry Harvey, Sr. Park and the investment in residential and commercial projects nearby was an attempt to realign the residents with the heart of their community.
Tension between the two stakeholder groups has largely subsided in the wake of the park’s overwhelming success. The site of the former Bowl was replaced with a series of display apparatuses with imagery and text detailing prominent members of the African American community, both locally and nationally, as a kind of urban storytelling. Though the Bowl lacks the material history that was so beloved by the skateboarding world, small parts of the extant concrete surface remain in situ. The new skatepark was designed using laser-imaging technology to recreate the feel of the previous concrete surface. According to the Tampa Bay Times, local skateboarders are impressed by the similarities between the original and the replica, “They almost nailed it,” Brian Schaefer, Skatepark of Tampa founder, told the Times.
The redesigned McCarren Park Skatepark in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, opened June 21, just in time for the official annual holiday known as Go Skateboarding Day. The skatepark was originally constructed behind the massive McCarren Park Pool, which itself reopened in 2012 after a $50 million renovation. The pool was one of 11 built in the summer of 1936 by Works Progress Administration laborers under Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and Robert Moses.
The skatepark was designed and constructed within its original footprint by California Skateparks. The company is responsible for many of the city’s most popular skating venues, including the ones at Pier 62, in Tribeca, and underneath the Manhattan Bridge on the Lower East Side.
The redesign adds poured concrete ramps and quarter pipes, and also replaces the existing rails and benches. A key to a successful skatepark design is the ability for skaters to naturally create a “line” between objects for a succession of tricks. The designers collaborated with both professional skateboarders and members of the community, who have been using the park since its initial opening in 2009.
Nike Skateboarding funded the $315,000 for design and construction and threw a block party to celebrate the opening. “The revamped McCarren skatepark is an exciting new addition to this magnificent, busy park,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver in a statement. McCarren Skatepark Bayard and Lorimer Streets, Brooklyn, NY Designer: California Skateparks
Guy Hollaway Architects announces world’s first multi-story indoor skate park in UK seaside town; calls it “controlled adrenaline facility”
We were able to get input and design from all kinds of skaters and BMXers so it was crowd-sourced before crowd sourcing was cool. We organized skaters back in 2006. The final design is innovative and allows it to be used by the entire public not just skaters and other ”wheelers”. It will be a place for all types of people and park users to gather.The skate park will be part of a 1.9-acre addition to the 325-acre downtown park’s southwest corner, between South Michigan Avenue and the Metra Electric District railroad tracks. The city will sell the land to the Park District for one dollar, assuming that sale is approved as expected at a City Council meeting on Wednesday.