Posts tagged with "Sports":

Placeholder Alt Text

Green Bay Packers unveils plans for a mixed-use community next to Lambeau Field

The second phase of Titletown—the Green Bay Packers’ redevelopment of the 45 acres west of Lambeau Field stadium—has been announced, and the area will soon be transformed into a live-work neighborhood. The first phase of Titletown, which was handled by the Packers’ development team, Titletown Development, brought a public park, hotel, restaurant, tech hub, and a sports medicine and orthopedics clinic to Green Bay, Wisconsin. Now, phase two will see a 150-unit rental apartment building, 70-to-90 purchasable townhouses in three different styles, and a 130,000-square-foot office building added to Titletown, turning it into a new neighborhood. The evolution of Titletown into a community shouldn’t surprise sports fans, as teams across the country have been converting the unused land around their stadiums into housing and additional amenities for their fans. Stantec’s Colorado office is raising a mixed-use block next to Denver’s Coors Field, the Chicago Cubs have raised their own office building and hotel next to Wrigley Field, and David Beckham’s Miami soccer park is slated to host a suite of non-soccer programming. Progress on phase two of Titletown is quickly moving along, with construction of the residences and the four-to-five-story office building expected to begin in spring 2019 and wrap up in the summer of 2020. The residential units will be built along the Brookwood Drive portion of the site, and Titletown Development said that the industrial material palette of brick, steel, and wood are homages to the history of northeastern Wisconsin. Seattle’s NBBJ has been tapped to design the apartment building, and the international KTGY Architecture + Planning will be responsible for designing the three different townhouse styles. The final look of the office building, expected to hold up to 400, hasn’t been finalized yet but Wisconsin-based Commercial Horizons, also an investor in the project, will be responsible for the design. From the renderings, it seems that a terraced plaza will also be joining these new developments, creating a stepped, public park for residents, visitors, and passerbys. Sports fans should act fast, as reservations for the residential units will open up later in this football season.
Placeholder Alt Text

Eight new cricket stadiums could be coming to the U.S. by 2020

"Howzat! Edged and caught at gully trying to drive a dibbly dobbly over silly mid-off." If that made no sense to you, you're not alone. The weird and wonderful game of cricket is still yet to fully catch on in the U.S., but one developer, Jignesh ‘Jay’ Pandya, from Philadelphia, has his mind set on such an agenda, planning eight new stadiums across the country. The Atlanta metro area, The District of Columbia, Florida, Texas, the New York City metro area, Illinois, and California, are the shortlisted regions Pandya is targeting for new cricket teams. In a big step toward realization, he and his firm Global Sports Ventures (GSV) have joined forces with JLL's Sports and Entertainment Group to build eight stadiums in U.S. cities by 2020, forming a new American professional cricket league. For now, the only images that have been released show a mixed-used complex for a site somewhere in Atlanta. The scheme, if built, will include restaurants and residential units. The incentive, however, may be more financial rather than for the love of cricket. GSV has said these eight stadiums will be a $2.4 billion investment, resulting the in the creation of around 17,000 jobs. Each stadium is touted to cost between $70 million and $125 million to build, while specific sites are still being scouted out. Cricket, of course, is played in the U.S. and exhibition matches are hosted on baseball fields, but a professional league would require teams having their own stadiums to avoid congestion and clashing. Furthermore, a cricket field is usually circular. It is bound by rope or markers with a circumference of 1,411 to 1,545 feet—that's about 1.5 times longer than a baseball field. Spectator capacity follows a similar ratio. Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles can hold 56,000, whereas the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia has a capacity of 100,024. The real test, however, will be getting people to actually go, and even more pressing will be television coverage and lucrative sponsorship deals. According to 11Alive, a news broadcaster in Atlanta, only 35 percent of viewers said they would not attend a cricket game in the city. This answer, however, may relate to the growing Indian population in the U.S. Already hugely popular in India, Pakistan, and much of South Asia, Pandya believes the immigrant communities from those regions could become a strong base of supporters. Evidence for this lies in the fact that ESPN covers the Indian Premier League (IPL)—a cricket league that is admittedly the world's most popular—with a service costing $29.99 for the 2017 season. “We know our plans are ambitious, and GSV is committed to launching a professional cricket league in the U.S. by 2020,” Pandya told WXIA. The IPL runs a fast-paced 20 over (160 "bowls"—a.k.a. pitches) format of the game, known as "Twenty20." This is the fastest way of playing the game. While the sport is complex, history suggests that changing the rules to placate American audiences does not work. This can be seen most emphatically with soccer in the U.S. as recently as 20 years ago. Pandya's story sounds eerily similar to Jim Paglia's, an entrepreneur who, in 1993, had plans for a new soccer league in the U.S. He proposed 12 new soccer stadiums in American suburbs, initially targeting eight cities: Chicago, St. Louis, Boston, New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Washington, D.C., and Orlando, Florida (the parallels continue). Until then, soccer in America had had a tumultuous time of it, with soccer leagues—both indoor and outdoor—starting and failing. Paglia proposed that each stadium would be part of a larger complex, similar to Pandya's scheme in Atlanta. He also planned a much bigger change, altering the rules to "put a product on the field that would draw more [American] fans." The changes involved dividing the pitch with colored chevrons, limiting player movement, including more than two goals and various goal sizes, and having long-shots scoring more "points" than close-range goals. Further still, players would wear different colored jerseys based on position. "ProZone Soccer," as Paglia called it, failed spectacularly. However, soccer in its standard form based on British "Association Football" is now popular. Since the U.S. hosted the World Cup in 1994 and its women's team has had much success, soccer is now the third most-played team sport in America with more than 24 million playing the game at some level. Crucially, it is well watched too. Numerous broadcasters show many live MLS games and new stadiums are now such a hot topic that a U.S.-focused email newsletter titled "Soccer Stadium Digest," run by American architecture firm Populous, exists. "There is the feeling in the industry that the leading firms are creating a uniquely American style of soccer stadium," a spokesperson for the digest told The Architect's Newspaper in an email last year.  Architecturally speaking, aside from standard tiered seating, cricket grounds boast a unique typology: the cricket pavilion. The pavilion was once (and in many ways still is) a very British typology. Its Victorian ornamentation—a stylistic extension of the railway—is a common feature in any English town and has been emulated across the former colonies in India, Pakistan, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Zimbabwe, all countries where cricket is hugely popular. It can even be found in Philadelphia with McKim, Mead & White's Germantown Cricket Pavilion which still stands today. Cricket in late 19th- and early 20th-century Philadelphia, however, was quickly usurped by lawn tennis. The colonial inflection is a hallmark of the game's roots, going back to Lord's Cricket Ground in London which opened more than 200 years ago, though it's no longer present in modern stadiums. It was at the Lord's Cricket Ground—the supposed "home of cricket"—that a new spaceship-like addition breathed fresh air into the stadium. Jan Kaplický, David Nixon, and Amanda Levete's Future Systems delivered the Lord's Media Center—, which won the RIBA Stirling Prize in 1999. Though that was nearly 20 years ago, that and the more recent addition to the Emirates Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester by BDP Architects suggest there is room for innovation and modernity in cricket stadium design. For Pandya to succeed, he needs time. In the opinion of this author, eight stadiums by 2020 is a tall order, but the marketing spiel of offering Twenty20 cricket by 2020 is indeed catchy. Along with that form of the game, Pandya also needs to bank on the longer versions becoming popular as a result. One day games (40 overs each) and five-day tests, where both teams bat twice, are commonplace. Moreover, even after time is up, the result can still be a draw. He also needs to stick to the rules. Changing the laws of the game? Well, that's just not cricket.
Placeholder Alt Text

America’s biggest and best upcoming sports stadiums

There’s nothing more American than sports, so just in time for America's birthday, here’s a look at some of the biggest stadium projects in the works—from the world's most expensive stadium to a celebrity-backed soccer field. Ford Field (Detroit Lions) The Lions’ Ford Field Stadium will be undergoing a $44 million renovation of its interiors in a project led by Detroit-based Rossetti. “Our goal has been to bring the fan experience up to standards and beyond while customizing the design for Detroit,” said Jim Renne, sports principal at Rossetti and lead designer of the original stadium. Banc of California Stadium (Los Angeles Football Club) The 22,000-seat and $250 million stadium for the LAFC is now under construction. Designed by Gensler in a "European-style" arrangement with steeply-raked and sweeping seating areas, the open-air stadium is meant to bring viewers in a closer relationship to the field and players. Oakland Raiders stadium The Oakland Raider's have purchased a 62-acre-site in Las Vegas for their new stadium, which will be designed by Kansas City, Missouri–based Manica Architecture. The stadium, which is expected to cost $77.5 million, will seat up to 65,000 people. The NFL team's move to the new stadium follows two years of drama and they plan to move in 2020, just in time for the start of the season. Quicken Loans Arena (Cleveland Cavaliers) As one of the oldest National Basketball Association (NBA) stadiums in use, the Quicken Loans Arena will get a $140 million refurbishment from SHoP Architects and Rossetti. The new design will see a new glazed facade which stretches the stadium’s footprint closer to the street edge, as well as an increase in space at the entrance and exit gangway areas. “The $140 million transformation, half of which the Cavalier’s will be paying, ensures that this public facility will remain competitive in the future,” Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said in a press release. David Beckham's Major League Soccer stadium Soccer star David Beckham is making moves with a Populous-designed, 25-000 seat stadium. What's catching attention, however, is not the celebrity attachment: it's that there won't be parking. Instead, fans are expected to use Metromover, Metrorail, water taxis, ridesharing, and plain-old walking to get to the stadium. LA Rams stadium Once completed in 2019, this stadium will be the world's most expensive, clocking in at a whopping $2.66 billion. Dallas-based HKS designed the new LA Rams stadium with more than 36,000 aluminum panels, which will have 20 million perforations punched into them. The perforations in the metal skin respond to the variable Southern California climate without the need for an HVAC system. This creates an effect of being outside, according to HKS. RFK Stadium In a $500 million vision to revamp the sites around the RFK Memorial Stadium after it's demolished in 2019, Events D.C., the city’s semi-independent convention and sports authority, unveiled plans to build it up with three multi-purpose athletic fields, a 47,000-square-foot food market hall, and a 350,000-square-foot indoor sports complex. “The RFK Stadium Armory-Campus—currently under-utilized—is poised to be transformed into a vibrant place that connects D.C. to the Anacostia River,” OMA partner Jason Long told the Washington Business Journal. Villanova University basketball stadium The university's basketball fans will have a new stadium to cheer on the Wildcats for the 2018-2019 season (in time for March Madness) when the renovation designed by Philadelphia-based EwingCole is completed. There will be a new lobby, concourse, and hall of fame greeting visitors. “It was important to Villanova that we celebrate the uniqueness of The Pavilion while creating an unmatched Division I basketball experience for the players and the fans,” said Bill McCullough, principal of EwingCole’s sports practice, in a prepared statement. The Texas Rangers' new Arlington, Texas ballpark Dallas-based architecture firm HKS has been chosen to design a new ballpark for the Texas Rangers baseball team. The stadium will be constructed as a public-private partnership between the team and the City of Arlington: It will serve as the Rangers’ home field and as a multipurpose arena for high school, college, and international sports. The Portland Timbers' stadium expansion Allied Works Architecture (AWA) has unveiled designs for a $50 million expansion to the 91-year-old soccer stadium in Portland, Oregon’s Providence Park, home to the Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns soccer teams. The stadium expansion, according to information on the AWA website, is conceptually inspired by William Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London and will aim to add roughly 4,000 seats to the existing stadium complex.
Placeholder Alt Text

RIVERSPORT Rapids is the latest extreme-sports addition to Oklahoma City’s riverfront

While cities around the country are transforming their riverfronts to encourage recreation, Oklahoma City is taking the Oklahoma River to the next level. The seven-mile-long formerly swampy stretch of land on the edge of downtown has been brought back to life through a series of dams and structures for adventure sports including kayaking, rowing, zip lines, climbing walls, hiking trails, high speed slides, and paddle boarding. The latest addition: RIVERSPORT Rapids, a 45.2 million, 11-acre whitewater rafting and kayaking center along the river; one of many attractions in a 60-acre stretch called the Boathouse District.

The whitewater center, engineered by Lyons, Colorado-based whitewater design firm S2o, is located just adjacent to the river. It includes two roughly 3,000-foot-long concrete channels (their angular lateral surfaces softened with plastic barriers), each stepping down about 24 feet. The average trip down takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Six 12,000-pound pumps send water from the bottom back up to the start, and large conveyor belts bring racers back up while still in their vessels.

“We put a Rocky Mountain experience in the Great Plains,” S2o president Scott Shipley said. His firm also engineered the London Olympic rowing center, Dorney Lake, and the U.S. National course in Charlotte, North Carolina. The nonprofit OKC Boathouse Foundation will operate the new center, offering rafting, kayaking, and tubing, among other activities.

“Oklahoma is a sports place. It’s really embraced this, and it’s helped create a renaissance here,” added architect Rand Elliott, whose Oklahoma City firm, Elliott + Associates, has designed and master planned the Boathouse District, a compilation of boathouses, entertainment venues, offices, and more, over the past 13 years. The rapids and the district were funded as part of MAPS 3, a one-cent sales tax initiative (already renewed four times since the early 1990s) that will give $777 million to new development citywide, with $60 million earmarked for the Oklahoma River. 

For years, the river, once known as the North Canadian River, was an almost dry waterbed that locals joked about mowing instead of rowing. A $53 million project completed in 2004 rejuvenated the river.

Along this stretch Elliott + Associates has designed angular glass and steel buildings that line up along the river like boats about to race. They include, among other structures, the Chesapeake Boathouse, CHK Central Boathouse, Devon Boathouse, CHK Finish Line Tower, and the SandRidge Sky Trail, a zipline course that resembles a crazy straw. At night the buildings are lined with different colors of LEDs, creating a mesmerizing draw for visitors.

“We’ve poured our whole life and soul into this to make it an architectural masterpiece in that everything is connected yet still individual and interesting,” said Elliott.

But the main event is still the water sports.

“As more people move to cities, they need this kind of recreation in their lives,” said Shipley, “We can bring it to where they live and work.”

Placeholder Alt Text

New York City to get 50 new soccer pitches as part of $3 million plan

New York City's five boroughs are in line to take a share of 50 new soccer fields over the next five years courtesy of the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Adidas, city government, and New York City F.C. The project, with an expected cost of $3 million, aligns with the aims of the U.S. Soccer Foundation to boost participation in healthy activities among youths.

According to the New York Times, Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to name Millbrook Playground in the South Bronx as the location for the first of eight fields. Here, a rundown play area will make way for an artificial pitch comprised of synthetic fibers which will be able to be used all year round. Other fields will also be placed in and around various depressed neighborhoods as the projects hopes to reach out to up to 10,000 children.

The fields are due to come to $750,000—a figure that will be offered by the four partners—meanwhile the rest of the total amount will go to maintaining the fields and extracurricular activities that will take place there.

“The city and public have skin in the game, and the private companies have skin in the game, so it’s a way to build bridges throughout our city that is very significant,” said Gabrielle Fialkoff, the director of the New York CityOffice of Strategic Partnerships, told the Times. “When you couple those private resources with the scale and breadth of our city agencies, innovative solutions can happen in a way that public systems can’t do by themselves.”

With underserved communal spaces, having been identified for soccer field placement, first in line are Cypress Hills Houses in Brooklyn, the Eagle Academy on Staten Island, Public School 83 in Manhattan, and Millbrook Playground.

New York City F.C., Major League Soccer's most recent franchise, is still on the hunt for a soccer field of their own. Currently ground sharing with the New York Yankees, president of the club, Jon Patricof, said the team were still looking in all five boroughs for a new place to call home. “For us, this is not about what happens on our match days,” Patricof said. “For us, this is about our commitment to the sport and all the positive things soccer can do for kids and their families.”
Placeholder Alt Text

Proposed $1 billion new Rangers stadium approved by Arlington City Council

The Texas Rangers may continue to call Arlington home until 2054: the Arlington City Council has unanimously approved a deal for a $1 billion retractable roof stadium, according to an article from The Dallas Morning News. The article states that, after months of negotiation behind closed doors, the city revealed its plans for this agreement on Tuesday. The decision will lead to a public vote on November 8. Until that time, voters will need to be persuaded to spend $500 million to keep the Rangers in Arlington. The city of Dallas has made efforts to convince the Rangers to relocate to Dallas. A Fort Worth Business article details the new private-public partnership: the Rangers have pledged $500 million and any costs that exceed the estimated $1 billion cost for the project. Arlington voters will vote on whether or not “to extend a half-cent sales tax that was approved to help finance Cowboys Stadium and $500 million [for] construction of the new stadium,” according to the article. The stadium, which would feature a retractable roof and air conditioning, would replace Globe Life Park, the Fort Worth Business article states. Voters approved a half-cent sales tax in 1991 to help pay for the current stadium which, although only 23 years old, lacks climate control and a retractable roof. The absence of these features has reportedly prevented the stadium from adequately meeting the needs of fans, players, and visitors. While critics have questioned the need for a new stadium and the process of negotiating the deal, Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams is optimistic that the deal will receive voters’ approval in November, stating “This is going to pass, it is too great of a deal for the Rangers and Arlington, and it will pass in November." Rangers co-owner Ray Davis hopes the new stadium to be functioning by 2021. The new stadium will still be located “within the Rangers complex, south of Randol Mill Road, on the site of two current parking lots,” the article states, obviating criticism that the project would disrupt a different part of the city. While there are plans for the Rangers to retain part of the current stadium, there is the possibility for the construction of additional facilities and even the extension of an entertainment and hotel complex project known as Texas Live!
Placeholder Alt Text

Populous unveils plans for Jacksonville Jaguars’ amphitheater and flex field

After having already unveiled plans to develop Jacksonville's Shipyard district, the Kansas-based firm Populous has released plans for their Jacksonville Jaguars' Amphitheater and Flex Field project.  With steel bridges that stretch over the St. John’s River, Populous, as they say on their website, are intent on delivering "an icon to the City of Jacksonville." Populous specializes in stadia, sports facilities and event architecture. https://player.vimeo.com/video/153512721 The firm has already released their plans to transform the Shipyard district into a space for recreation and entertainment, a scheme also backed by the Jaguars' owner Shahid Khan. There, the plan is to rejuvenate the area and kick-start a fruitful period of economic activity. Now Khan has his eyes set on developing his teams stadium vicinity. The area appears to be a happy hunting ground for the firm. In 1995, they designed what the New York Times called the "nation’s most luxurious locker room." An undulating prefabricated canvas spans the "flex field" whose roofscape is supported by a series of long-span steel trusses, sloped columns, and an array of cables. Multipurpose arenas are almost an economic necessity for the contemporary stadium typology and Populous' scheme is no exception. The canvas roof system also allows the space to be brought to life with "dramatic" LED lighting when used for entertainment purposes, while also doubling up as a football training facility. Jags Amp Renderings4
Placeholder Alt Text

HOK and 360 Architecture unveil new renderings of a revamped stadium for the St. Louis Rams

HOK last week released new renderings of a speculative stadium on the banks of the Mississippi River—the latest in the saga of the NFL's Rams franchise as it mulls leaving St. Louis for its original home, Los Angeles. St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke last year bought 60 acres next to the Forum in Inglewood and has announced plans to build an HKS-designed, 80,000-seat stadium there. In St. Louis, a city-appointed task force replied with a 64,000-seat, open-air stadium designed by HOK and 360 Architecture on which they have staked “the reinvention of St. Louis’ city center.” The latest renderings don't show many changes, but do offer a bit more detail on how the Rams' St. Louis home would look, should they choose to stay. Earlier this month a judge approved the use of public money for the project, although many have criticized such pursuits, noting thin evidence that subsidies for sports franchises have any positive impact on municipal economies.   NOTE: (HOK completed the acquisition of 360 Architecture in early 2015 and they are now one firm. HOK recently launched a new Sports + Recreation + Entertainment practice.)
Placeholder Alt Text

Cincinnati’s U.S. Bank Arena unveils major overhaul and expansion to stay relevant amid regional competition

A major renovation and expansion project planned for Cincinnati's U.S. Bank Arena could further change the face of the city's rapidly evolving riverfront. Nederlander Entertainment and AEG Facilities, the downtown arena’s owners, have not specified a cost or timeline for the project, but U.S. Bank will have to compete with a $70 million overhaul of Fifth Third Arena on the University of Cincinnati campus. Cincinnati architect Michael Schuster’s MSA Sport firm is leading the redesign of U.S. Bank, while Moody Nolan and Populous have the helm on the Fifth Third project. Writing in the Cincinnati Business Courier, Steve Watkins reported that the project may be an attempt to stave off arena irrelevance for Cincinnati, where the shadow of Louisville, Kentucky's Yum Center grows long:
I wrote in spring 2014 that the city needs a new or vastly renovated arena to compete with surrounding cities and lure many big-time events. At the time, some experts said Cincinnati will remain behind other cities without a brand-new facility. Peter Marrocco, vice president of business development and marketing at Walnut Hills-based HGC Construction, said a proper overhaul would cost $100 million, but even that might not work. “My concern is that’s not even going to get you up to par with Yum Center,” he said. “I don’t even think $100 million is going to be enough. We’d be putting a Band-Aid on a bleeding wound.”
While the expansion adds only 500 regular concert seats, it will balloon the amount of club seats from 352 to 1,750. It will also add 40–60 suites in a new middle level closer to the stage. The lack of such suites apparently contributed to the arena losing its bid to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. (That convention will be held in Cleveland.) More images of the U.S. Bank Arena project, courtesy MSA Sport:
Placeholder Alt Text

Tokyo government approves Zaha Hadid’s designs for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Stadium while controversy continues

Despite courting backlash for being imposingly large and costly, Zaha Hadid’s designs for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Stadium have been green-lighted by the Tokyo government. Officials maintain that further modifications at this stage of proceedings would only incur further expenses from construction delays. In July last year, Hadid acquiesced to criticism against her original stadium, announcing new designs with economizing modifications promising to be more “efficient, user-focused, adaptable and sustainable.” A spokesman for Zaha Hadid Architects told Dezeen that the structure would sport “a lightweight, tensile fabric” to “reduce the weight and materials of the roof to give it greater flexibility as an indoor and outdoor venue.” However, Hadid’s firm declined to disclose whether the size of the venue would also be scaled back. The two massive arches forming the backbone of the roof, which critics have billed an unneeded frill, will prevail. To slash construction costs from the initial $3 billion, officials have proposed delaying building a retracting roof until after the Olympics and making 15,000 of the stadium’s 80,000 seats temporary. “We want to see more existing venues, we want to see the use of more contemporary grandstands,” said John Coates, Vice President of the International OIympics Committee. “It may be that there are new venues and existing venues at the moment that are dedicated for just one sport, where with good programming you could do two.” Nevertheless, the price tag continues to hover at $2 billion due in part to the fact that use of Hadid’s designs requires the demolition of the existing 1964 stadium designed by architect Mitsuo Katayama. Pritzker laureates such as Toyo Ito and Fumihiko Maki have been among Hadid’s most vocal critics, themselves one of eleven finalists in the 2008 competition. In an interview with Dezeen at the groundbreaking for her 1000 Museum Tower in Miami last year, the Iraqi-British architect posited: “They don’t want a foreigner to build in Tokyo for a national stadium.” However, soaring construction costs have been reported across the board, with the committee reviewing designs for ten Olympic products after bids for one facility came in at 15 times the estimated cost. Although Hadid’s stadium has received the go-ahead, city and central government continue to hotly debate how to split the $2 billion bill.
Placeholder Alt Text

On View> The Center for Land Use Interpretation investigates “The Landscape of Golf in America”

Foreground: The Landscape of Golf in America Center for Land Use Interpretation 9331 Venice Boulevard, Culver City, CA Through September 21 As one of few sports determined entirely by terrain, golf’s field of play is an irregular form defined by outdoor features: grass, trees, sands, mounds, and water. Most sports are played on rectangles of constant dimension, but not golf. The thrill of golf is engendered by the undulating hillocks and flora that surround it, distilling scenic qualities of its locale. The exhibition explores the symbiosis between the landscape and the outdoor sport, assuming the position of golf as an assertion that nature and landscape can be thoroughly tamed, sculpted, and placed under control so long as we can maintain it.
Placeholder Alt Text

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. guy-hollaway-architects-multi-storey-skatepark-folkestone-designboom-04 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. guy-hollaway-architects-multi-storey-skatepark-folkestone-designboom-03 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.