• Southbank Centre Reveal New Skate Park Plans
  • Posted 13 months ago by Jack Lowe · Art & Design · 19819 Views
  • Today, London's Southbank Centre revealed a number of new plans for the proposed Hungerford Bridge Skatepark which would replace the current iconic undercroft space. Iain Borden - the professor of architecture and urban culture at the Barlett School of Architecture, UCL - and Rich Holland - an architectural designer at Floda31 who has made many skateable installations and sculptures - were both commissioned by the Southbank Centre to illustrate how a skateable space could look under Hungerford Bridge.

    The plans to develop the current undercroft into shops and restaurants as part of a £120 million redevelopment were met with opposition by the skateboarders, who formed the group Long Live Southbank and gained over 40,000 signatures on a petition to save the area. The Southbank Centre, however, believe the new space - which is 120 metres further up the river and is 10% larger - has a lot of potential and say they could spend up to £1 million on the construction of the space, if the skaters agree.

    Jude Kelly, the Southbank's artistic director, said: "We want skating and other urban arts to continue to flourish at Southbank Centre and we hope these proposals show we're committed to a permanent riverside skate site right next to the Royal Festival Hall." She added that the current designs are "not set in stone" because "community sites like these are enormously enhanced by organic development through the use and input of the users themselves."

    Iain Borden said he agreed the current site is preferable, but added that "the three visualisations of the site certainly offer everything functionally that is already in the undercroft. They have steps, ledges, things that skaters can manoeuvre onto. They also have a reasonably flat floorspace." He added "I would say it’s better if you just measure it quantitatively. What it doesn’t have is the 35-year history. But give the Southbank centre their due. Normally a commercial developer comes along and says, 'You've had your free ride, sod off.' It's part of the game because skateboarders use space they don't own. What the Southbank are offering the skateboarders has never been offered to other skateboarding groups anywhere else in the world."

    www.southbankcentre.co.uk

    • I've said ti before - anyone who complains about this and wants to keep the current piss-smelling hole that is southbank is absolutely crazy.
    • adam. Posted 13 months ago · 63
    • you clearly don't understand the argument. this is just another souless park. There are a half dozen about town you can skate if you like. The point is southbank was appropriated by skaters and has a history. It hasn't got perfect surface, ledges are weak and bankings pretty shit but I'd take that any day over this shopping mall of a skate park.
    • tab Posted 13 months ago · 69
    • well then go skate some car parks while everyone else enjoys what the council wants to give us for a million pounds. I'd rather be able to land tricks instead of getting my wheel stuck in a gritty hole of "soul" or collide with a "soul" pillar after landing something. The council let people skate there, I wouldn't really call it appropriation. They could easily put up signs saying "no skateboarding" and hire a security team to keep people away if they wanted to and that would be that. They could also not build a new park and save themselves one million pounds. But no, they're willing to invest a huge amount of money in an outdoor space specifically for us, not a space that we need to take over and make our own, a place set aside for us, instead of just putting up with us at the current spot. Also, southbank is not very beginner friendly, the steps have extremely eroded landing spots, the banks are steep, there isn't even much actual space! everyone that's complaining just needs to grow up. The new park, if it's built like these designs, will bring a huge breath of fresh air to the southbank. If you can't see any of the positives and just want to talk about heritage and "soul" then you're completely narrow minded and stubborn. enjoy your carparks. Here's £1million to build a new park - no thanks, i'll keep my glorified car park that smells of piss. you guys blow my mind.
    • adam. Posted 13 months ago · 38
    • you really don't understand how important this place is or that 'getting my wheel stuck in a gritty hole' is part of skating, especially london I never started skating so I could be 'given' built parks. I skated because you can make something your own in a city that sometimes feels quite detached. I'd hate the idea of council just feeling like they can buy us out of the heritage we built. It goes against what I see skating as. They'd never do it to another community. Don't think they're given us a ml from kindness aswell, they're doing it to get rid of the bad press and sweep us out of the way for a bunch of shitty cafes and restaurants. Developers aren't that interested in places that have national campaigns to save them. Although that does show the impact the Long Live Southbank petition has accomplished. Southbank was never a skatepark anyway. To replace it with one doesn't make sense. Its something that was created by a group of people over a long period of time. So you can go skate your pre-packaged park. I prefer to skate somewhere I had a little input into actually making.
    • tab Posted 13 months ago · 41
    • 'southbank is not very beginner friendly, the steps have extremely eroded landing spots, the banks are steep, there isn't even much actual space!' Mate, you're talking as if skatings a sport. You just do what I did when I was 11 and hurl yourself off it. and pray Thats the fucking point.
    • .... Posted 13 months ago · 45
    • By saying "everyone else" Adam, I think you're wrongly assuming that your opinions are on the side of the majority. As nice as this place looks, it is essentially the V Festival of skate parks. No history, no culture.
    • Alex Posted 13 months ago · 55
    • As alex says 'the vfestival of skate parks' no soul.
    • Tab Posted 13 months ago · 38
    • I've skated the place for almost 20 years. I've appreciated it for what it is but hell, it's time to move on. I understand why people want to keep it but I'm also mature enough to see from the council's point of view too. - which is what most of you are failing to see, too busy crying over some concrete like it's a family heirloom. I grew up in the countryside, I used to skate my big wheeled long boards on dirt roads to learn how to ride, I learned how to ollie on grass. Southbank was one of the first "real" places I skated when I moved, it was like heaven - but 20 years later and shit has to move on, it really does. The place has been ridden to death and I couldn't tell you the amount of times in the past 10 years I've seen new kids roll up and look around like "is this it?". I would rather a new site that kids could get excited about. Because it's not about us old assholes wanting to keep shit "soulful", it's about getting kids excited to keep riding. new plazas and parks do that, not run-down, piss smelling holes like southbank, because that's all it is now, there's no soul in a place that smells of piss, occasional has people shooting up in the corner, used condoms etc, I've seen it at it's best and it just isn't like that anymore, the council tried it's best with those new big blocks etc, but they got destroyed in a few months. A new park is really, really needed. Pretty sure you all have shit in your eyes if you can't see it.
    • adam. Posted 13 months ago · 24
    • 'I'm also mature enough to see from the council's point of view too' in the same paragraph as 'Pretty sure you all have shit in your eyes if you can't see it. ' - nice Anyhow, I still skate southbank and when kids come down they are noticiable excited. Because this is the place where so much history lies, they've seen it in so many vidoes and heard about it. It's like a pilgramage. Sure theres some junkies and rubbish, the new hubngerford site will be spotless I guess. Just because things get broken a bit doesn't mean you chuck them away. Also not sure the last time you skated down there but the ledges still get skated, I dids like your sentimental 'learning how to skate' section though.
    • tab Posted 13 months ago · 34 Reply
    • also - it would've been awesome to see the recent Vans demo at this new place rather than see Vans legends old and new doing basic tricks into the banks and repetitive stuff down the stairs at the current 35-years-of-skateboarding-heritage spot.
    • adam. Posted 13 months ago · 33 Reply
    • to be honest, the new park looks sick
    • Paul Posted 13 months ago · 41 Reply
    • I grew up in a tiny room in the pokiest little house in a pretty rough area for 12 years. Then we moved into a much larger, nicer house with bigger rooms. It was convenient for getting to town, had enough space for my stuff, and was decorated beautifully. It was a dream house. But it wasn't the house with the memories
    • Ash Posted 13 months ago · 37 Reply
    • Some people are clearly missing the point. As tab said, there are many other skateparks around London that are much better than South Bank, but there is a reason why people travel from far and wide to ride/skate that 'piss-smelling hole'.
    • Sam Posted 13 months ago · 20 Reply
    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zrk_LvQf6ZY
    • NR Posted 13 months ago · 51 Reply
    • I don't know what you are all complaining about, the majority of the old skating area has been boarded up now anyway... leaving about 1/10th of the space there was originally. The new designs clearly show that they are opening the entire space back up for skating... what is the problem? I used to live here (not literally) about 10 years ago and used to go there everyday, in its current state it is nothing like it used to be and just sucks because it is all closed off. So as far as I can see this is a massive improvement.
    • Alex Posted 13 months ago · 28
    • agree 100% some people here probably weren't even alive 15/20 years ago, any "soul" or "heritage" that southbank has is long gone. It's like if you had a relative in hospital in a coma for 20 years, eventually you have to say "it's time to let them go", you switch off the dialysis machine and let them die peacefully. There is nothing left with southbank, it's time to let it die and move on.
    • adam. Posted 13 months ago · 22 Reply
    • "So you can go skate your pre-packaged park. I prefer to skate somewhere I had a little input into actually making." Isn't southbank saying that they welcome input from the skateboarders or am i missing the point here? And I wonder if Paul would want to move back to his tiny room in his poky house just for the memories? Moving on does not mean erasing memories. The memories are good and they remain.
    • Cloggy Posted 13 months ago · 23
    • The memories get erased as soon as they build a fucking starbucks in it's place. In an ideal world, this would be akin to building on an indian burial ground.. and spirits of skateboarders gone by would rise to burn the place to the ground.
    • Ollie Posted 13 months ago · 41 Reply
    • They should of built the Hungerford plaza while keeping Southbank open without letting anyone know that Southbank was eventually going to be shut. It would interesting to see the migration that may of occurred. Imagine everyone raving about the new spot, how shit Southbank is for then it to be shut. Would everyone be so pissed off?
    • Anthony Posted 13 months ago · 65 Reply
    • booooooo down with this!!! Leave it alone !!
    • Alyn Posted 13 months ago · 60 Reply
    • Spend the £1M on putting The Undercroft back to how it used to be. Get rid of that Beano's place, reinstate the little banks and the bank to wall as well as the ramps and we'll be happy ever after. It's not rocket science!
    • RobA Posted 13 months ago · 34 Reply
    • This guy Henry, come across as such a complete fascist, I don't think he is in anyway sane. However, he has some point's. But this new spot is physically better then the old spot, the designers have done a brilliant job with such pressure against them. I don't want the Undercroft to go, but I will use this new space.
    • Bob Posted 9 months ago · 39 Reply
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