Intro by Robin Pearson
Photos by Wheelscape (unless credited)
UK Skateparks. In 2017, the UK is fortunate to have many good ones. Dotted all over the land, there is a seriously impressive amount of concrete skateparks now. Yes, some of them might be small and insignificant, but nevertheless we are blessed to have so many different facilities. We are very well stocked.
One of the leading skatepark design companies, Wheelscape, had a very busy year in 2016. They took on lots of new projects, extended existing parks and seemed to push their design work in a positive way. They also started adding colour to their parks, livening up the standard concrete aesthetic with a touch that's reminiscent of some iconic American parks.
We caught up with Russ Heideman recently about some of Wheelscape's highlights from the last twelve months.
BRADLEY STOKE SKATEPARK
"Bradley Stoke is a project that we are really happy to have been involved with.
The local users were heavily involved during the tender stage and throughout the design development once we were awarded the job."
The design changed quite a bit from the tender submission to what is there now. This was down to changes in client requirements, budget, and of course design development with the user group themselves.
"We always believe that the more user involvement there is, the more successful a project will be."
We always believe that the more user involvement there is, the more successful a project will be, and since its completion Bradley Stoke has been very well received with BMX, skateboard and scooter riders. Both local and from afar!"
"One feature within the design we were particularly stoked with is the blockwork vert extension at the end of the street section of the park. This is something we hadn’t done before, inspired by DIY projects across the globe, this feature turned out really good and has seen some pretty heavy things go down!"
"The plaza in Hull is something that we produced a design for with local user, Paul Regun.
Developed over the course of several meetings the idea was to create a space that incorporated real street obstacles as well as some traditional skatepark features. As it doubles up as a pathway for pedestrians and cyclists it was a fun project to work on. It was something a little different from the usual project briefs."
"Designed for Hull City council, the project was constructed by a local firm.
There are several features within the design which are unique to the Hull Plaza:
Pump Roller to Kicker. Inspired by the famous Besos Bumps spot in Barcelona – wave over a rail.
Plaza style design, the chance to push for a lot more space between obstacles giving a clear line of sight and plenty of time to set up for tricks.
Rail detailing. We got to develop some artistic detailing for all of the rails within the design and this was carried through to construction by the local builders."
NAILSEA SKATEPARK PROJECT
"The Nailsea Skatepark users were a well-established group who had a strong sense of community. After years of hosting events and competitions at the old steel skatepark, the group were working together towards a brand new concrete facility.
The user group; made up of a wide age range, had some very clear ideas on what they wanted from this new skatepark. These ideas were clearly demonstrated during the pre-tender consultation, where three companies including ourselves were invited to meet with the project group. When awarded the contract, we received feedback that our design best suited their very specific brief."
"Being an established group, they had developed a logo for the Nailsea Skatepark Project, NSP. We wanted to carry this forward into the skatepark design, giving the facility a recognisable brand. The group’s logo was incorporated into the park by attaching a large version of their logo to the timber clad rear of the vert-wall."
"Once awarded the contract, there was a lengthy consultation period before the design was nalised and all of the funding was in place. During this time, we built a fantastic relationship with the user group, attending several design meetings and consulting with local residents regarding other aspects of the project.
Two different options were developed for the final design, one of which included an extended area focussed on younger users. The group continued fundraising, allowing them to proceed with the extended design. The final design was then presented to the group with a chance for some last minute feedback, allowing adjustments to the design pre-construction."
"Thame had a really strong scene consisting heavily of BMX and Skateboarders. This lead to the style of design that was constructed, a mixture of both street and transition features along with jump boxes, plaza style features and a bit of everything!"
We are really happy with how Thame turned out, the design is super fun and we think there is something there for everyone."
"There are a few features/elements to the design that we feel turned out particularly well on this project:
Jump Box within the bowl. Both are features the user group wanted, with the additional requirement of a heavy street course we looked to incorporate the jump box within the bowl. We feel this has worked well and seems to be popular with the local BMX users.
Similarly, trying to maximise the budget we incorporated lots of extensions within the bowl to avoid large raised sections of platform whilst still giving the extra height needed to really gain speed and boost airs!"
"Flat Bank Hip to Driveway Blend. This is something that we have toyed with before but on this project it turned out really well, both the hip and driveway work well and this allows more features to be included in the park whilst still meeting British standards for spacing etc.
The two large quarter pipes with channel gap at the end of the street course. Some more heavy hitters have gone big over this gap."
"Finally, we incorporated a storage unit within the facility. On the rear side of the bowl platform there is a solid steel ‘cabinet’ to keep brooms and various other items to help keep the park clean."
WORTHING SKATEPARK - EXTENSION
"This project was different to the norm in the sense that it was an addition to the existing facility. In our tender submission we proposed revamping the old skatepark as part of our works, this included resurfacing of tarmac, repairing snags with the old ramps and of course the design and installation of the new concrete elements.
There was a challenge presented to us with this as we had to ‘bolt-on’ to the existing park. This led to some careful engineering to ensure things were constructed properly."
"The project has turned out really well. By refurbishing the existing ramps it meant we could revive the features already included in the design leaving freedom to provide a wider range of obstacles within the design.
The success of this project can be seen in how it is used. By adding to the old, the park literally hosts something for everyone. There is a large halfpipe, a jumpbox section, various banked and trannied hips, quarter pipes of all sizes from below a meter to vert extensions."
"There are also some jazzy kerb pads and real street style features, wallies and rails etc. All of these things can be linked together in super long flowy lines, or if the park is busy they can be used as designated areas to allow multiple users at the park."