Architects, listen up. I may have found you all a great way of justifying sloping floors and other whimsical forms that defy building codes, because they’re unsafe. I was tutoring a student today, who asked if it is possible to call a ramp in a building something other than a ramp for wheelchairs. The building he has in mind would have a lift to provide access to the disabled. He wants to build sloping floors, for aesthetic reasons, not to provide essential access routes.
Now this got me thinking: what if areas inside of buildings could be designated as skate parks, street trials cycling rinks, or parkour studios? I had just read a friend’s online article about OMA’s Prada Store in New York, where a wavy floor might have been labeled “proscenium arch”, or something equally vague, on whatever plans were submitted for building approval. Sure, the Prada Store is a shop, but the conceit is that it has a theater inside.
Okay, so what if an art gallery had a skate rink inside? Who would come back to check that it was ever actually being used as a skate rink, and not for the temporary display of artworks? I would think a sign warning gallery visitors that skating is a risky activity, pursued at their own risk, would cover the institution’s arse in the event that some gallery viewer got distracted by painting and fell off a half-pipe. After-all, they were there for the skating—at least that’s what we’ll claim.
Call the floor of your neighborhood public library a venue for parkour, and there would be no limiting the crazy and hazardous forms you might make.
If you throw the next three clips together as a soup in your mind, architects, something creative may just pop onto your page. They feature Danny Macaskill bouncing off of architecture around Lisbon (do write and tell me any specific places you recognize), the architectural professor Iain Borden riding a skateboard, and Bjarke Ingels egging on loonies to treat his Mountain Dwellings in Copenhagen as a place to cause themselves injuries.