When philanthropist Roger De Haan and architect Guy Hollaway approached the idea of rejuvenating the seaside town of Folkestone, U.K., they saw the future of the city in a counterculture normally relegated to isolated scrub land: a multi-story, indoor skatepark.
Located in the center of the city’s Creative Quarter, the skatepark will consist of three
floors of skate space, a nearly 40-foot-high climbing wall, boxing center in the basement,
and socializing space on both the ground floor and roof. The skate floors will be shrouded
in metal mesh, not only ventilating the space, but allowing the riders to be on display to
the public below at night, making the building a main focal point on the street.
“The architecture needs to be beautiful in itself, and become part of the street
scene,” explained Hollaway. “But it’s also about understanding the demographic of the
place, and the investment that you need to put in the place.”
Herein lies the importance of the skatepark: While it holds the boasting rights of
being the world’s first multi-story skatepark, the impact that it will have on Folkestone’s
youth will help rejuvenate the city in the long-run.
“The idea is that if you invest in the youth of a place, and if their memory of that place
as they’re growing up is good, then they’ll be more inclined to stay there and invest their
time and energy,” Hollaway said. “The building is shouting out and saying this activity—this
sport—is important, and investing in young people is important.”
By Kadie Yale | Renderings courtesy of Guy Hollaway Architects
When faced with a waning
population, Guy Hollaway hopes
to find a solution by putting a
half-pipe in the sky.
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