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Why Skateboarding Matters to Architecture

Studiometro's Bastard Store, a cinema converted into office space, showroom, and skateboarding bowl.
Studiometro's Bastard Store, a cinema converted into office space, showroom, and skateboarding bowl.

Every June 21st since 2003, Go Skateboarding Day has rallied skateboarders around the globe – in skateparks and public plazas, downtown nooks and parking lots – to grind, ollie, and kickflip it with the best of them. If I didn’t lose you at “ollie,” you’re probably wondering: what the heck does this have to do with architecture? Well, I could talk about the architectural challenge that a skate park, as an interactive public space with specific topological requisites and social implications, offers architects. I could show you some cool testaments to the fact, such as the Architecture for Humanity-sponsored projects in Afghanistan and Manhattan, opening today. But, rather selfishly, I’m more interested in what skateboarding has to offer us beyond skateparks. A skater, unlike your typical pedestrian, experiences space just as intensely and consciously as an architect himself, albeit in a different way. He/she is alive to the possibility of space, not in its totality, as an architect would be, but as a collection of tactile surfaces to be jumped on, grinded, and conquered. The skater offers a revolutionary perspective for the architect: one that allows you to see  buildings beyond what they were intended to be, to see (and design) buildings as “building blocks for the open minded.”

Design Unveiled for the Broad Museum by Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Courtesy of Diller Scofidio+Renfro
Courtesy of Diller Scofidio+Renfro

If you are a regular ArchDaily reader you know that we have been providing ongoing coverage of Eli Broad’s Broad Museum in Los Angeles. Nearly 120,000 sqf and $130 million dollars, invitations were given to six top architects to submit designs for the new museum. Rem Koolhaas, Herzog and de Meuron, Christian de Portzamparc, Ryue Nishizawa and Kazuyo Sejima, Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Foreign Office Architects competed and in August we informed you that Diller Scofidio + Renfro garnered the commission. Today, the design for the Broad Museum has been released. Situated adjacent to Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall and Arata Isozaki’s Museum of Contemporary Art, the museum has become a key part of the Grand Avenue redevelopment project that has been losing steam.

MOCA Cleveland / FOA

 ©  FOA
© FOA

Residents are hopeful that Foreign Office Architects (FOA)’s first museum design (and the firm’s first major US building) will help Cleveland’s urban-revitalization project move forward.  Farshid Moussavi of the FOA London has designed a geometric volume that dominates the Uptown area’s site, creating a bold icon for the new Museum of Contemporary Art.  Prior to this, the MOCA rented a 23,000 square feet of space on the second floor of the Cleveland Play House complex, but with this 34,000 sqf new home, the museum will be able to showcase a bigger selection and accommodate more visitors. More images, a cool video, and more about the project after the break.