Street skating. It’s how the majority of today’s skateboarders define their style of riding. And for many, the skate plaza now represents the ideal skatepark.
Throughout the history of skateboarding, skateparks have always sought to complement the type of terrain that was already being ridden in a natural setting. The first era of skateparks was defined by concrete bowls and undulating snake runs, which mimicked the surf style of backyard swimming pools, drainage ditches and winding hills.
As skateboarding evolved, skaters began to experiment on urban architecture such as benches, stairs and handrails – essentially anything they could find in their community. To accommodate this new style of riding, skateparks also evolved. An industry-wide push for skateparks that replicated real world architecture led to the development of a new style of terrain called the skate plaza.
Rather than designing a collection of flowing ramps and bowls, skate plazas focus on recreating the types of features skaters are already riding “in the streets”. Inspired by iconic skateboarding meccas such as Love Park in Philadelphia and the Embarcadero in San Francisco, skate plazas are designed to be open environments – conducive to skateboarding without the restrictive feeling of a traditional skatepark.
Integrated landscaping, colored concrete patterns, sculptural artwork and custom textures (granite, marble and brick) collectively define skate plazas as vibrant public spaces that are inviting to skaters and non-skaters alike. Without skaters to demonstrate, a passerby may never realize that the space was specifically designed for skateboarding.