Since bringing skateparks to the mainstream with the design of the original X-Games competition courses, Spohn Ranch’s visionary design solutions have continued to lead our industry into new realms of artistry and innovation.
We’ve worked with municipalities and professional skateboarders across the nation to create some of the most recognizable icons of modern skatepark architecture. The result of a comprehensive and collaborative design process , these facilities have become enduring skateable landscapes – significant spaces that will last for generations and contribute to the rich legacy of skateboarding.
The result of nearly twenty years of skatepark experience, our comprehensive range of design services includes:
- Planning with a focus on community and sustainability
- Community engagement via in-person and online interfaces
- 3D drafting and design
- Construction documents, technical specifications and permitting
- Collaboration with local artists, landscape architects and engineers
- Value engineering and cost estimating
Our design philosophy is a synthesis of thorough analysis, economic realism, environmental responsibility, cultural awareness and an unwavering commitment to the skateboarding which made this whole dream possible. We balance the practical needs of the City, the preferences of skaters and strengths of the site to create an ideal, custom park for every client. While many designers see each project as another opportunity to advance their own design experiments or express their personal fantasies, we see ourselves as servants to the City and its skaters.
Ensuring a level of detail and responsibility no other designer can deliver, our philosophy is also based on the following principles of skatepark design.
Collaboration with a diverse and integrated team – Spohn Ranch works in focused interdisciplinary teams of professional skateboarders, CAD draftsmen, artists, landscape architects, engineers and top skatepark builders. We approach planning, design and construction challenges with cohesive strategies that reflect our diverse skill sets and ultimately result in the ideal solution for site, budget and community.
Coming to the table with all the right tools – Spohn Ranch’s diverse set of skatepark development tools is unparalleled in our industry. With only one build method at their disposal, many designers will allow their limited construction abilities to negatively influence the potential of the design.
Let’s take a look at example. Your community wants a skatepark design with bowls, complex sculptural features and a competition-style vert ramp. Spohn Ranch will utilize our shotcrete capabilities to build the bowls, precision-casting for the sculptural features and our advanced ramp systems to fabricate the vert ramp. With turnkey solutions for any scenario, we can ensure that there truly is no limit to what we can accomplish within the skatepark design.
Thinking beyond design – Spohn Ranch firmly believes that the best skatepark designer is also a builder. With limited knowledge of how skatepark features are actually built, design-only firms are notorious for designing with little regard for real-world construction costs. By over-promising during the design phase, they are setting up the community for disappointment when the park must be scaled down to meet the actual budget.
Spohn Ranch designs with best practices for construction. Unlike design-only firms, we will never design a feature that cannot be built given your specific site conditions and available materials. Our 20+ years of skatepark construction experience helps us know that we are designing a park that can be built for the stated budget. We work with our COO, Mark Bradford as we determine the construction cost estimates – this ensures we can successfully build the park for the estimate we provide.
Operation experience via our sister company, the Action Park Alliance, also provides us with vital insights into how skateparks function beyond the grand opening. During the design stages, we leverage this intimate knowledge to guarantee your park’s long-term success.
Thorough Cost Control – One of the aspects of skatepark design we pride ourselves on is completing projects not only on time, but on budget, without change-orders. This is due to a careful planning process based on our proprietary cost estimating system. With other designers, costs will increase during the construction process as unforeseen items are discovered. The design is then dumbed-down to stick to the original budget, or the budget for the initial design is increased with change-orders. Too many designers over-promise and under-deliver.
Community involvement – Community support is the backbone of any successful skatepark project. We engage appropriate stakeholders in a meaningful way throughout planning and design phases, giving the community a true sense of ownership in their facility. We always develop a close working relationship with the local skate community, guiding them through the entire skatepark development process. Through in-person community design workshops and modern social networking tools such as Facebook, Youtube and Twitter – we will make sure everyone’s voice is heard. Before moving forward with a design, we will make sure everyone’s voice is heard and ensure that we are not solely catering to the group that is the most vocal.
Creativity and innovation – At Spohn Ranch, we take great pride in being able to continuously redefine the limits of skatepark design. As a testament to the innovative act of skating, we aspire to create one-of-a-kind skatepark solutions that will inspire the most creative forms of skating. At the same time though, we do not design wild concepts just for the sake of being different – we do it with purpose and with a strong focus on safety, functionality and feasibility.
When designing skateparks we aim to create facilities that will become the hub of a thriving action sports community. Action sports enthusiasts of all styles and backgrounds can feel comfortable learning new tricks and progressing, while making new friends and gaining a sense that they are a part of a unique collective of individuals. To ensure our skateparks can remain vibrant for generations to come, our design philosophy has a strong emphasis on creating endless possibilities within the park. An uninspiring skatepark design with predictable lines will no longer provide skaters with the challenges they seek once the newness of the park has worn off. With each skatepark we design, we hope that we are creating something completely unique and contributing to the legacy of action sports.
For a look at Spohn Ranch’s project that changed the way the world thought about skateparks, click here.
Compliance and Liability Protection – Spohn Ranch’s experience in designing and building skateparks for cities covered by various insurance pools lets us minimize and eliminate any unforeseen liability. In addition, Aaron Spohn is a senior member of the ASTM Board governing skatepark standards. His design oversight will ensure that our skateparks meet all appropriate standards including ASTM, CPSC, and ADA.
Inviting recreational space that reflects local culture – Our approach to skatepark design involves looking at the bigger picture, by creating public space that is integrated with its surrounding environment and inviting to more than just skaters. Our skatepark designs aim to bridge the gap between the action sports community and the community at large. We hope to accomplish this by creating the most interesting and interactive space in the public domain.
Compelling concrete textures and colors, artistic sculptural features and integral landscaping help transform a “skatepark” into a welcoming and beautiful environment. In addition, we do not treat site amenities as an afterthought, they are thoughtfully woven into the fabric of our skateable landscapes – creating vibrant and welcoming community gathering spaces.
During the design and planning stages of skatepark projects, we take inspiration from local culture and thoughtfully incorporate it into our designs. Whether it is a replica of a local skate spot, a unique sculpture or native planting and rocks – our skateparks tell a distinct story. With a deep respect for local tradition, we are able to create skateparks that the entire community can embrace and reinterpret in their own inspiring ways.
Best use of Site – Our basic design philosophy is “We want to build your community’s skatepark, not build our skatepark in your community”. By letting the site dictate our design, we make use of its advantages and plan around its weaknesses. Instead of designing with a particular build method in mind, we believe in a balanced approach to skatepark design that ensures we are creating the best skating environment for your site. We will adapt to your project’s unique conditions.
Environmental Responsibility – For a look at Spohn Ranch’s environmentally-conscious design principles, click here.