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A state-of-the-art skatepark in the Olympic Park
By Veith Kilberth, Landskate GmbH
Working in close partnership with future end users, the skatepark design consultancy Landskate GmbH came up with a new design for the outdated skatepark in Munich's Olympic Park: this state-of-the-art facility satisfies a wide range of user wishes while its elements and colour scheme blend harmoniously into the environment of the Olympic Park.
Next year skateboarding will be included for the first time as an official Olympic Sport at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, but the image of the old skatepark in the Olympic Park fell well short of the Olympic ideal. Occupying around 500-m2 on Brundageplatz, the so-called 'Stonepark', named for its flagstone floor, has been a popular destination for Munich's skateboarders since the 1990s. However, the modular Stonepark, which was built from prefabricated skate elements, seemed like something from the Stone Age to its users.
Time for an update. In 2017 the urban planning committee of Munich city council authorised the renovation of seven skateboarding facilities, including the one on Brundageplatz, with a total budget of around EUR 1.8 million. As the old Stonepark was iconic for generations of skateboarders, including numerous pros, characteristic features of the original design needed to be retained. The complete renovation – carried out in accordance with the latest developments in in-situ concrete construction – will not only provide a modern exercise space for skateboarders and BMX riders but also further contribute to the vitalisation of the Olympic Park.
An additional challenge was ensuring that the new skatepark complied with the prevailing design parameters as the Olympic Park, which was planned by the Behnisch Architekten studio in 1972, is subject to a preservation order.
The inclusion of local users
The contract for the redesign of the Stonepark facility was awarded to the Cologne-based Landskate GmbH skatepark planning consultancy. The team consists of several former and current pro skateboarders and landscape architects, who draw on their many years of experience when selecting skatepark elements of the correct height and design and their arrangement as an overall course. In addition to harmonious integration into surrounding greenspaces, there is always one factor taken into particular account when planning skateparks: the wishes and needs of the local user group.
After an analysis of the overall offering of around 40 skateparks in Munich, the multi-level participation process began by determining the needs of the local users from various age groups and exercise cultures (skateboard and BMX). Unlike just 25 years ago, the aim was to involve these local users in planning. So, Munich city council, the Skateboarding München e. V. association and the Landskate planning consultancy called for public participation.
The feedback from the participation group provided the key criteria for the redesign of the facility: suitability of the Stonepark for skateboarding and BMX riding, a mixture of round and angular shapes, low basic height of the obstacles of around one metre, graduated structure according to difficulty level, from beginner to pro, and individual higher elements for BMX at the front of the facility. In order to better serve the needs of users, the area was extended by 200 m² to a total of 700 m².
The design: round corners, curved forms
From the requirements the planners came up with a skatepark design which was submitted to the participation group for voting in several rounds. From the polystyrene model through 3D rendering to execution, the local users were involved throughout the entire process. This incorporated the latest developments in the design of skateparks, which were tailored to the current requirements of users to create a coherent overall concept. The final skateboarding and BMX landscape offers an innovative design: a symbiosis of round, organic so-called transitions and angular 'Street' shapes which derive inspiration from street furniture. On the smooth surface the obstacles are arranged in such a way as to maximise the potential routes, so-called 'lines' criss-crossing the site, and optimise flow. This multi-lines concept results in especially creative and varied use, which ensures that users will be motivated to return time and again.
In order to comply with Munich city council's preservation order and integrate the skatepark as 'naturally' as possible into the surrounding landscape and the overall image of the Olympic Park with its curved forms, all corners are rounded. All skate elements to the periphery are bordered with a slight slope and incorporate the surrounding topography of the area of vegetation. The planning consultancy has also focused in particular on incorporating the safety-related aspects into the design in such a way that, for example, there is no fall protection in the form of railings on the ramps or other public safety features which mark out the skatepark as excessively public 'functional architecture' in its look and feel.
The 'Stonepark' – a one-off in the Olympic Park
In order to achieve a distinctive identification with the Olympic Park individual elements are in an eye-catching colour based on the colour scheme for the Olympic Park. In homage to the modular floor construction of the old Stonepark, the new concrete floor has a pattern of anthracite construction and expansion joints. The furniture in the rest area also references the aesthetic of the environment with retained Olympic Park benches on paved natural stone.
Integrated seamlessly into the environment and designed in accordance with the wishes of its end users, the new Stonepark has provided an active inner-city space since it opened in the shadow of the Olympic Tower in mid-June 2019.
Location: Brundageplatz, Olympic Park, Munich
Contractor: Building Division Landscaping of the state capital Munich
Planning consultant: Landskate GmbH
Executing company: Anker Rampen
Area of site: 700 m²
Construction method: In-situ concrete wet spraying process
Costs: € 320,000
Work stages according to fee scale for architects and engineers: 1 – 8
Start of construction: March 2019
Completion: June 2019
Tel: +49 163 331 77 17