Jacksonville is eagerly awaiting the arrival of its own skate park, The Block, to open. While originally scheduled to open this month, some hiccups have pushed the release back, but residents should still expect to see The Block become a staple in Jacksonville’s skate scene soon.
Opening a skate park is a daunting task, and one that has to be approved and overseen by city officials. A site location must be chosen and agreed upon, engineer and construction drawings and visions must be taken into account, property surveys and soil borings gathered, and this is all before any type of construction even begins. Generally, creating a skate park means clearing out a plot of land and constructing something that the city officials who must approve the project will probably find no use of. But what if it didn’t have to?
According to an article in Wired magazine, a skate architectural brainchild has been born in Roskilde, Denmark, where an industrial wasteland has been transformed into a drainage canal/skatepark. Soren Nordal Enevoldsen with his firm Nordarch was hired by the city to solve the growing drainage issues that came as a result of increased rain due to climate change. His solution was to create an above ground drainage system that could also function as a skate park.
This creation, now dubbed the Rabalder Park project, has revolutionized the drainage in Roskilde and provided the city with an innovative, one-of-the-kind skate experience that spans 24,000 square feet. Rather than simply drafting the construction of a skate park, the construction was drafted as a drainage system first, making the park an authentic challenge for skateboarders, rather than just another park full of pipes melded strictly for skateboarders use.
In her article Ingenious Architecture, A Skatepark That Prevents Flooding, author Liz Stinson explains the layout and design of the Rabalder Park Project: “Keeping the functionality of the drainage system as a first priority, Enevoldsen had to work within the boundaries of the project’s basic design structure: a canal directs rainwater into three bowl-like basins that in totality can hold up to 10 swimming pool’s worth of water.”
These bowl-like basins are a skateboarder’s dream for a park skate pool, and with the way Enevoldsen designed it, the particular bowl’s being used for the skate park will only fill once every 10 years, thus having minimal impact on the skate park.
This creative project could revolutionize the way cities view skate parks. Generally seen by the city as more of a nuisance to create than a necessity, and usually only erected when residents come together to rally for demand, talks of erecting a skatepark are usually met with more opposition than excitement. The Rabalder Project proves that a skatepark can be more than just a hassle for the city; rather, if the right architect gets his hands on the construction project, it can solve existing problems a city faces.