‘Thank you, but no’: Southbank skateboarders slam relocation visions
Skateboarders campaigning against the demolition of a skate park as part of the Southbank Centre overhaul have hit out against relocation options mooted this week
In an online video Chewy Cannon and Henry Edwards-Wood of the Long Live South Bank campaign group warned few skateboarders would use the new facility and called on the prestigious arts centre to abandon the relocation and ‘stop wasting money’.
Defending the existing skate park beneath the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Edwards-Wood said: ‘People come to the undercroft because it’s open [and] right in the centre of everything but mainly because it’s a found place.
‘They come because of the history because there are generations of skateboarders there who have laid the foundations – we’re almost like an indigenous tribe there.’
Competing visions for a new £1 million skatepark were unveiled earlier this week. The three options by SNE, Rich Architecture and 42 Architects demonstrate how the skate boarding area could be made 10 per cent larger by moving it 120 metres from its current home.
The rival schemes were unveiled despite the Thamesside arts centre agreeing to rethink its £120 million overhaul amid pressure from CABE, the National Theatre and skateboarders. The British Film Institute became the latest neighbour to raise concern this week.
The visuals were revealed just days before a planned open forum where Southbank directors hope to reach agreement with opponents to the scheme.
The proposal to relocate the historic skate park from beneath the Brutalist Queen Elizabeth Hall to nearby Hungerford Bridge has been one of the most contentious elements of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios’ redevelopment vision.
More than 60,000 signatories have backed a petition started by skateboarders campaigning against the relocation.
Southbank skatepark: The rival schemes
The design by 42 Architects proposes the replacement of the existing ramp with a new ramp in the North East corner of the site and a significant flat-floor space bounded by various skateable banks, walls, ledges and steps. These create the possibility of a varied set of routes, movements and activities across the site. The design is further articulated by the angularity and juxtaposition of elements and by the inclusion of cracks across the flat floor. A demountable/accessible roof is proposed and the overall appearance is of a complex, yet coherent set of spaces with a strong atmospheric quality.
SNE Architects’ design proposes the replacement of the existing ramp by a new ramp in the North East corner of the site. The rest of the site accommodates a large flat floor space bounded by various skateable banks, walls, ledges and steps, which create the possibility of a varied set of routes, movements and activities across the site. No roof is proposed – rain and water ingress is dealt with by a combination of bespoke guttering and under-floor heating. The overall appearance is minimal yet subtle.
Rich Architecture’s design proposes the retention of the existing ramp, which is partially cut underneath to provide access and visibility towards the North End. The rest of the site accommodates a large flat floor space, which can be inhabited by temporary skateable elements, bounded by a limited number of skateable banks, walls, ledges and steps. No roof is proposed – rain is dealt with by bespoke guttering. The overall appearance is of a ‘light touch’ approach, largely retaining the existing space in an as-found condition.