Exhibitions | The State of the Art of the Skatepark

Magny-les-Hameaux, Île-de-France
Photo Stéphane Ruchaud, 2016


Rue Léon Cladel, Paris
Agence Constructo & Raphaël Zarka, 2012
Photo Stéphane Ruchaud, 2016


Toulouse, Midi-Pyrénées
Photo Maxime Delvaux, 2016


Courbevoie, Paris
Photo Stéphane Ruchaud, 2016


Baumes-les-Dames, Franche-Comté
Photo Cyrilles Weiner, 2016


Bois-le-Roi, Île-de-France
Photo Stéphane Ruchaud, 2016



Landskating
Architecture Exhibition
Villa Noailles
Hyères | France
21 February > 20 March 2016



Oddly contoured, possessed of an eerie, otherworldly atmosphere, had they been around in the early 20th century, Edward Hopper might have been inspired to paint empty skateparks. Perhaps it was an oversight on his part  – maybe the subject wasn’t sophisticated enough to appeal to his taste – that JG Ballard never constructed a dystopian epic with skateboarding culture as its hub.

Rooted in Los Angeles in the 1950s when surfers, looking for something to surf when the ocean waves were too flat, hit on the idea of taking to the streets on strips of plywood with roller skate wheels attached, skateboarding, having developed into a global youth leisure pursuit –  its sister sport, snowboarding was first included in the winter Olympics in Japan, in 1998 – has been recommended for inclusion at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Early skateboarders called their invention ’sidewalk surfing’, but with lumber purloined from construction sites they also constructed skateboarding ramps in their backyards/gardens. These, together with the curving surfaces of drained swimming pools were the forerunners of today’s skateparks. Skateboarding, therefore, was about the emancipation and creative re-use of existing space, so perhaps the very idea of trying to construct a state-of-the-art skateboard park is a contradiction in terms and British architect Guy Hollaway’s (2015) plans for the world’s first multi-storey arena in Folkstone, based on the premise put forward by the developer that ‘it might stop people leaving because there’s nothing to do there’, probably run contrary to the renegade/make-do/spontaneous ethos of skateboarding aficionados.

One section of the forthcoming exhibition Landskating at Villa Noailles focuses on a photographic commission – from which the images above are extracted – of thirty or so skateparks in France, and another explores the architecture of nine international skateparks. However, the object of the show is to examine the effect of the global proliferation of skateparks on youth culture, urban regeneration and town planning.

All photographs courtesy the Villa Noailles © the photographers


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