Skatepark Continua
by MBL Architectes and David Apheceix

For around 10 year, MBL architectes was working on the progressive transformation of a former industrial mill in Boissy-le-Châtel, France, into a contemporary art venue. The project decided to maintain and preserve the typical wasteland landscape of the site.

It follows a research conducted on the spaces produced by skate cultures. Skateparks trigger the gathering of a diverse population. A meeting point for children and parents, a playground for the practice of all sorts of rolling devices, and a space for the most assiduous training in skateboarding, skateparks build temporary communities, as well as lasting friendships.

Its ability to generate a form of "public life" made the construction of the skatepark on this site so relevant in the first place. It brought a new public to the premises of the gallery, one that was perhaps not always familiar with contemporary art, and offered another public space to nearby residents. 

MBL architectes also had the desire to explore the fluidity characteristic of the first skateparks of the 1970s. In pre-digital times, these found or constructed forms prefigured the geometry that parametric architecture would manage to model and popularise at the beginning of our century. The project explores this prehistory, the empirical premises of a non-standard architecture.

Designed as a continuous strip, avoiding a rigid delineation, the skatepark is meant to be a structure for the landscape. Stretching out along the old railway tracks that cross the industrial site, the skatepark is immersed in trees and shrubs. It connects the buildings on a distended territory.

The curved lines of raw concrete outline the shadows of lime trees, poplars, birches and buddleias. Avoiding a preconceived design, the shape of the skatepark responds to the specificities of the ground and the existing vegetation.

The construction explores the possibilities of wet concrete. On the site itself, metal frames were assembled and welded. Fresh concrete was sprayed directly onto metal reinforcement, then pulled and smoothed to the desired shapes before it set.

Mainly empirical, the fabrication of the skatepark is largely due to the dexterity of the mason-skaters in charge of giving it shape. The construction site was conducted in the manner of a performance that celebrated the encounter of a project and a site.

Authors MBL architectes and David Apheceix
Location Boissy-le-Châtel, France
Year 2020
Collaborators David Apheceix & Constructo (Associated architects),
Camille Fréchou (Landscape architect), INOUT Concept (Skatepark
engineering study), Vulcano (Construction)
Client Galleria Continua
Photography Maxime Verret, Stéphane Ruchaud

MBL architectes Every Other Week The Ordnance Pavilion Green Gallery YAP MAXXI Courtyard Cinemapepe Belvedere Lesser Houses

a project powered by Itinerant Office

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