Quaker Court Skate Park

Artist: Benedict Radcliffe
Location: Brick Lane, London
Completion: 2013

This indoor skate park was purpose built for a week-long photo shoot for arguably the biggest name in sportswear and equipment. Built in a light industrial unit just off Brick Lane, on completion of the initial week-long event, it will continue to operate as a skate park that can be leased for private events.

Structurally the first step of the project was to form a shell inside the bare unit to form a more suitable internal space. Normally a relatively standard, non-structural aspect of a project, the space limitations, double-height volume and, most critically, the ability to withstand the continual assault that the skaters would dole out onto the walls meant it was far from off-the-shelf. The walls were formed from a series of studs that were anchored to the external block walls and sheathed with two layers of plywood internally to form a three ply composite structural section strong enough to deal with the repeated dynamic loading.

A bridge was constructed in steel and spanned clear over the skate area to provide a photography and viewing gantry for the event. Again, the inevitable use of this as part of the skate furniture meant that the lateral loads and dynamic interaction of the structure were critical - particularly the staircase with the all too enticing balustrade......