Skateboarding is one of the fastest growing sports in the Western world. Having originated in the streets, the spontaneous and unorganized character of the formerly underground sport does not fit into any of the existing conventional sport facilities and the demand for a new type of facility is ever increasing.
At the same time, heavy industry is vacating the city centers leaving behind empty unused wastelands and buildings, often already occupied by skaters, street artists and the like.
EFFEKT's winning proposal transforms the distinct aesthetics of a typical raw industrial building – the train engine roundhouse – into a facility that supports and embraces the new wave of emerging unorganized street activities. The result; a synergy of vibrant street culture and preservation of authentic cultural heritage.
Architect and partner at EFFEKT Tue Foged says: “The existing setting and atmosphere fit so intuitively with the programmatic brief. Placing an playground for street culture that celebrates community and creativity on one of the most important historic sites in Esbjerg is also a way to preserve and reinterpret the historic relevance.”
All though there was a series of rich potentials to be released, there was an even more important task in balancing and enhancing the important unique qualities of both the site and the spontaneity of the street culture community.
“The brief was equally exiting and ambiguous; is it even possible to create a framework for the unorganized sports that thrive with spontaneous participation and fluctuating schedules? And can we do so without compromising the cultural heritage of the existing industrial setting? We believe that with this project we prove that we can. Rather than taking the tabula rasa approach deleting history we chose to recycle and reinterpret the circular typology of the train engine depot and turn it into a hybrid of industrial heritage and social activity space.” says Tue Foged.
Architecturally the new facility is a reinterpretation of the existing structure, which was originally designed as a typical roundhouse with a turntable in the central courtyard. New halls are placed in the same geometry in a variety of outdoor and indoor spaces, each with their distinctive function and expression, creating a coherent multifunctional street culture compound.
The program includes a covered area for transition and bowl skate, interior and exterior street basket courts, a street dance area, an indoor street skate arena, workshop areas for DJ-schools and street art, meeting rooms, administration offices, a cafe, kitchen, changing rooms and a large social area and reception. Small niches are located throughout the building to promote informal hangouts in between activities.
In the heart of the compound an enclosed street sport plaza and large outdoor social space is located. This is also the point of arrival where you immediately get an overview of all the activities and their individual location.
The funder of the project and Director of the philanthropic organization Realdania Hans Peter Svendler looks forward to the completion of the first of three street culture facilities scheduled to be built in Denmark:
"We are pleased that the former train engine depot is now being repurposed and transformed into a new unique street sports environment that will serve as an example project of how industrial architecture can be re-programmed and activated in a whole new way - preserving the special atmosphere, character and key features of the existing industrial buildings. "
In addition to EFFEKT the winning team included MASU Planning, Luke Jouppi, Rambøll Engineering and local contractor VestByg, and the new facility will open in December 2015.
Skateboarding is one of the fastest growing sports in the Western world. Having originated in the streets, the spontaneous and unorganized character of the formerly underground sport does not fit into any of the existing conventional sport facilities and the demand for a new type of facility is ever increasing. At the same time, heavy industry is vacating the city centers leaving behind empty unused wastelands and buildings, often already occupied by skaters, street artists and the...
- Year 2015
- Work started in 2014
- Work finished in 2015
- Client Esbjerg Municipality, GAME Denmark, Realdania, Trygfonden
- Status Current works
- Type Multi-purpose Cultural Centres / Sports Centres / Sports Facilities / Recovery of industrial buildings