London’s Southbank Centre has revealed some new plans for the proposed Hungerford Bridge Skatepark, which is supposed to replace the current space that the Southbank undercroft is using. Southbank Centre commissioned Iain Borden (Professor of Architecture and Urban Culture at the Bartlett School of Architecture) and Rich Holland (Architectural designer at Floda31), who has been involved with a bunch of different sculptures and installations with ‘skatability’ in mind, to illustrate the new plans.

Long Live Southbank managed to get over 40,000 signatures on a petition to save the area from being destroyed by retail developments (worth £120 million). The Southbank Centre think that the space has more potential that is being utilized at the moment though, and if the skaters agree, are willing to spend up to £1 million on building the new space, which is 120 metres further up the river and 10% larger in size.

“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.” – Jude Kelly

Iain Borden said 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. 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.”

What do you think about the plans?

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