Ernest mcbride skatepark
City: Long Beach, California
Size: 9,500 sq. ft.
Role: Skatepark Designer and Builder
Year Built: 2012
Since skateboarding first made its way to Long Beach in the 1970s, local youth have consistently earned a reputation for approaching skateboarding with an unmistakable level of passion and commitment. Taking a stand against the social and economic issues that challenged their daily lives, the skaters of Long Beach have wholeheartedly embraced skateboarding – both as a vehicle for bringing people together and as a way to maintain a positive, healthy lifestyle.
With a background story this inspiring, Spohn Ranch was proud to honor the spirit of Long Beach skateboarding with the design and construction of the City’s most vibrant and well-rounded facility to date. The project was also chosen as the Tony Hawk Foundation’s spotlight project of the year, with a “Stand Up For Skateparks” event held in October to raise additional funds for the park.
As Spohn Ranch approached the design phase of the project, our goal was to create Long Beach’s first true skate plaza. More than just another place to ride, they wanted to create an engaging public space that would resemble an urban streetscape and give local skaters a sense of place and community. Putting themselves in the mind of an average Long Beach skater, they asked themselves, “What would it take to create a park that would keep me excited to come back here every single day?”. Reflecting today’s modern style of skateboarding, this 9,000 square foot design focuses less on traditional ramps, bowls and half-pipes and allocates more space towards features one would find in a common urban setting – benches, stairs, handrails, etc.
By far the most compelling and significant aspect of this design is the inclusion of the letters “LBC” in the banked wall. By increasing the width of this feature, Spohn Ranch will be able to set these larger-than-life letters into the piece and allow them to rise up out of the park. With a sculptural quality not found in any other skatepark, these letters singlehandedly elevate this skatepark to iconic proportions. When this skatepark appears in professional magazines, videos and local user YouTube videos, these letters will become an instantly recognizable symbol of Long Beach’s dedication to quality skateboarding facilities. Empowering the local skaters with the knowledge and pride that their community is special, these letters will further unite Long Beach’s skaters and cement the City’s place in skateboarding history.
At the official grand opening, our work was praised by Tony Hawk himself: “It’s an excellent street-plaza design, with just enough transitions to make it well-rounded,” says Hawk. “It has something for all skill levels, and is exactly the type of project, area, and advocacy that we want to get involved with. It should be an example for other communities to follow.”
Photos by Anthony Acosta