Skate Places: Recovery and Occupancy of Urban Spaces in Disuse

Skate Places: Recovery and Occupancy of Urban Spaces in Disuse

Yesporciento is an architecture and research studio founded by Sebastián Castro, architect and skateboarder. From Chile, his interests lie around strategies to maximise and strengthen the public and collective space through the Skateboarding phenomenon. Next, Castro presents his most recent analysis focused on observing, registering and presenting some cultural manifestations related to the recovery and occupancy of disused urban spaces, defining three case studies within the urban area of Santiago.

Text courtesy of the author. The skateboarder observes and perceives the city, its spaces and components in a completely different way to that of a common pedestrian. This is based on the discovery of different values and meanings immersed in them, whom through technique and body movement, transform surfaces into fields of action and sport. This creative ability to resignify the city gives it a totally new dimension, where the skateboarder considers buildings, environments and their waste as facilitators of social, cultural and sports autonomy. Consequently, the creation of DIY (Do It Yourself) spaces used by skateboarders, promote new ways of occupying disused urban spaces that are directly related to the constant processes of transformation, expansion, reinvention and development of the city.

The organisation of the community and the self-management of local and external stakeholders have led to the recovery and occupation of these disused spaces through clean-up days, raffles for the financing and construction of spots, donations, and an important sense of belonging, creating vibrant communities that transform the residual spaces of the city in safe places with added value, where sports, social, artistic and cultural expressions are the protagonist.

Case Study 01 / DIY "No Busta"

"No busta", the first Skate Place in this research, is located near the Inés de Suárez Park and the modern architecture towers of Antonio Varas, and it takes its name from the temporary closure of the "Busta" (DIY skatepark located in Bustamante Park, Providencia) due to the sanitary restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. This place peaked in popularity and appropriation in mid-2020, going from being an automotive dealership to a residual space, and under the latter condition the perfect setting for the cultural development of Skateboarding.

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No busta DIY. Image © Lucas Ormazabal
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No busta DIY. Image © Lucas Ormazabal

The research takes this first case study because its ephemeral condition was present, for logistical reasons and the health context ensured the closure of this DIY towards the end of 2020. It is currently vacated and under construction for a real estate project.

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No busta DIY. Image Cortesía de Sebastian Castro
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No busta DIY. Image Cortesía de Sebastian Castro

Typology: DIY (self-management)
Managers: IG. @no_busta_oficial_spot_ocultos
Total area: 1,652 m2
Location: Antonio Varas 1215, Providencia, Chile.
Year: 2019-2020
Video: Diana Flores

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No busta DIY. Image Cortesía de Sebastian Castro

Case Study 02 / DIY El Abrazo Track - Shed Movement

The second Skate Place in this research is located on the western outskirts of Santiago, specifically in Villa El Abrazo in the Maipú commune. This place, which was previously an industrial services factory, borders the well-known industrial belt of Camino Melipilla. It is situated a few metres from the residential Villa, El Abrazo, and it became a neglected residual space and a source of insecurity for the community. Consequently, a few years ago, a group of local skaters organised themselves to recover the place, clean it up and make use of the space for the development, practice and culture of skateboarding. 

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Galpon DIY. Image © Lucas Ormazabal
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Galpon DIY. Image © Lucas Ormazabal

Due to the temporary closure of the Galpón at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of skaters decided to intervene and consolidate the exterior slab to give the use of the space some continuity. The initiative took shape under the logic of building new posts by recycling the materials found in the illegal dump located behind the Galpón on Tres Poniente Avenue.

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Galpon DIY. Image © Lucas Ormazabal

Due to the motivation and the potential resources found there, "Recicla Spot" was born, a project that seeks to maximise the spaces for skateboarding with recycled materials.

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Galpon DIY. Image Cortesía de Sebastian Castro
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Galpon DIY. Image Cortesía de Sebastian Castro

Typology: DIY (self-management)
Managers: IG. @Mggalpon - @pistaelabrazo
Total area: 1,860 m2
Location: Av 3 poniente 1147, Maipú, Chile.
Year: Since 2017
Video: Pablo Letelier

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Galpon DIY. Image Cortesía de Sebastian Castro

Case Study 03 / DIY “Kayser Spot”

The third Skate Place in this research is located in the northwest area of Santiago, specifically in the Renca commune. For years this place was a warehouse and an administration office for the textile company "Kayser", which is located in an industrial area of the commune next to the AMB International Airport. On the 20th of October 2019, during the social unrest in Chile, a controversial fire broke out that almost completely destroyed the warehouse. In November of the same year, a group of local skateboarders discovered the potential of this place. Motivated by its history and physical space, they got together to clean up and build the first spots, with the aim of recovering the space and establishing a place of coming together, organisation and memory around skateboarding and its subculture.

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kayser DIY. Image © Lucas Ormazabal

By virtue of the square meterage available, the managers have created a mix of uses that host both complementary and parallel activities to the practice of skateboarding, generating the interest of neighbours as well as people from other communes, areas and groups to make use of the space, using it as a resource to create meeting spaces and the exploration of artistic, cultural and sporting practices.

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kayser DIY. Image © Lucas Ormazabal
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kayser DIY. Image © Lucas Ormazabal

At present, people are working hard to maintain and enhance the growth of the space, with the aim of giving citizens the possibility of appropriating it and doing everything possible to keep alive the memory of and respect for those who fought and were killed in the fire of the 20th October.

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kayser DIY. Image Cortesía de Sebastian Castro
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kayser DIY. Image Cortesía de Sebastian Castro
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kayser DIY. Image Cortesía de Sebastian Castro

Typology: DIY (self-management)
Managers: IG. @Kayserspot
Total area: 16,202 m2
Location: Av. Miraflores 8402, Renca, Chile.
Year: Since March 2020
Video: Felipe Huenchuñir
Research team: Gabriela Valdes + Lucas Ormazábal + Sebastian Castro

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About this author
Cite: Dejtiar, Fabian. "Skate Places: Recovery and Occupancy of Urban Spaces in Disuse" [Skate Places: recuperación y ocupación de espacios urbanos en desuso] 18 Jan 2022. ArchDaily. (Trans. Pérez Bravo, Amelia) Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/975091/skate-places-recovery-and-occupancy-of-urban-spaces-in-disuse> ISSN 0719-8884
1) Galpon DIY 2) kayser DIY 3) No busta DIY. Image © Lucas Ormazabal

滑板运动激活城市废弃空间,3个滑板场项目 / Yesporciento

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