London’s first indoor skate park has opened its doors in disused railway arches underneath Waterloo station.
Designed by UK architect Tim Greatrex the House of Vans park, which has taken more than a year to build, welcomed the first skaters to the new arena on 9 August and is set to host a series of gigs, screenings, talks and exhibitions alongside skateboarding during August.
At almost 2,800m² the tunnels can hold up to 850 people at full capacity, with two of five tunnels underneath the station, which were previously occupied by the Old Vic Theatre, given over to the dedicated skatepark with the rest of the area given over to a mix of exhibition and performance spaces and a public art gallery.
The first of the two skatepark tunnels features a pool-style concrete bowl with the other tunnel arch hosting a series of mini-ramps and rail section.
Speaking to The AJ Iain Borden, director of the Bartlett School of Architecture at UCL said: ‘House of Vans music, art and creative functions really complement the imaginative aspects of skateboarding, which has always had a very strong sense of independent thinking, creativity and innovation at its core - just like architecture. I am not aware of any other skatepark which puts all of this together in such a condensed and explicit manner.
‘As a purpose-built and indoor skatepark it is quite different in type and character to the existing nearby Undercroft space. And the skateboarders’ extraordinary enthusiasm for the new House of Vans just goes to show how much opportunity there is for more varied and complementary skate spaces in and around the Southbank Centre.’
The new park is located close to one of London’s most famous skateparks at the undercroft on the Southbank.
In November 2013 the Southbank Centre submitted its own plans to relocate the famous skatepark, which is one of the oldest continuously-used skate parks in the world, to a new location as part of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios’ (FCBS) £120 million vision for the wider Southbank site.
The £1m proposals would see the Undercroft park moved from its current location to a new facility 120 metres away under the Hungerford Bridge.