Urban space and moving bodies / Skateboarding Berlin
Architecture reproduces itself within those who use the space in question, within their lived experience. —H. Lefebvre
Project text below project images
In this project, my interest in architecture is mixed with my interest in the practice and culture of skateboarding. The subversive use that skateboarders make from architecture and urban furniture is something that has always attracted me. The original use for which those were designed is irrelevant for skaters. They only see the shapes and surfaces that offers architecture. So skateboarding can be seen as an activity "to use public space creatively."
It was in the 80s when the skateboarder found a new way of interact with the city. The discovery of a new technique, the ollie, opened new possibilities relating to space. Places to practice skate were no longer pending tracks, private pools nor skateparks: the city itself became the new space for skateboarders and thus a new way of understanding the urban space.
The classical theories of architecture conceptualizes the city as a whole: they see the city as a static object and locked in the rules. However, through the values of skate, the city is rethought as an amorphous space in constant transition, a space for the flow of ideas, activities and events.
Through the history of architecture, sociologists like G. Debord and H. Lefebvre introduced the concept of social and cultural applications of architecture. Architects often focuses on producing spaces opposed to living experiences and therefore they fail to understand the way that space should be planned in order to include multiple city users.
The skate has a deep appreciation and understanding of architecture, regardless of how unconventional or subversive can it be. Lately, skateboarding helps rethink the multiple possibilities of architecture. Through the skater movements in the urban space, and its direct interaction with the city, the skateboarding is a critique of architecture. When the skate values are applied to urban space, architects must rethink conventional notions of space, the values of experience, the ideals of freedom and the contribution of architecture to incorporate frameworks for all users.
In my large format images of Berlin (produced with the stitching technique), skaters are becoming smaller and smaller, being swallowed by the city itself...
Sources: I. Borden, X. Camino, G. Debord, H. Lefebvre and E. Cuadros.