〈F51〉は、イギリスのケント州南東部の港町フォークストンの中心部にあることから名付けられ、再生プロジェクトの多くを担うロジャー・デハーン慈善信託（Roger De Haan Charitable Trust）の依頼により建設された。
Hollaway Studio Designs World’s First Purpose-Built Multi-Storey Skatepark in Folkestone, UK. Opens 4 April 2022.
Client Roger De Haan Charitable Trust / The Sports Trust
Architect Hollaway Studio
Opening Date: 4 April 2022
Folkestone & Hythe District Council
Type of Project Mixed-use
Location Tontine St, Folkestone CT20 1JP
Hollaway Studio has designed the world’s first purpose-built multi-storey skatepark in Folkestone, UK, as part of a major ongoing programme to regenerate the seaside town. The landmark building features three skateparks, climbing wall (the tallest in the South East of England), and boxing ring, and opens to the public on 4 April 2022.
For Hollaway Studio, F51 is an ‘adrenaline building’. From its initial ambition and conception through to the articulation of its form and architecture and ultimately its end use, F51 is the shot of adrenalin needed by all – from those using it to the local community and the town itself. To create this, Hollaway Studio has designed an imposing concrete beacon shrouded in mesh rising out of the Folkestone Creative Quarter, acting as a focal point within both the local landscape and the community. With its three layers of high quality skateparks, boxing gym, climbing wall, and café space, it is a central hub for youth culture following the year that skateboarding was recognised at Tokyo as an Olympic sport and in advance of Paris 2024, just across the Channel from it.
F51, named after its location in the heart of Folkestone, a burgeoning seaside town in South East Kent, has been commissioned by the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust. The Trust views the project as a further means to support the local community and has been responsible for much of the ongoing regeneration currently taking place that is transforming and reviving Folkestone. F51 is a gift to Folkestone and the young. Located on the edge of one of the most deprived wards in Kent, it will offer young locals freedom and the opportunity to push both physical and mental boundaries within a safe space away from screens. In doing so F51 aims to put young people first, conveying to the youth of Folkestone that they are important and have opportunities that may not have been immediately apparent before. Membership for young locals who attend schools in the area, will be offered at a heavily discounted rate making F51 accessible for all of the local community. F51 also aims to attract the large number of locals who moved away and are now returning to bring up their own families and continue the regeneration of Folkestone.
Skate Design & Architecture
F51 is a brave building which has seen the local community and planning authority putting their trust into Hollaway Studio designing a space that could bring together the community and replace the existing skatepark near the harbour. Working closely with renowned skatepark designers Maverick, Hollaway Studio has created three tiers of skate parks suited to all ages and different levels of experience, allowing beginners an opportunity to start at the top and work down to the advanced level, alongside a boxing gym, climbing walls, and a welcoming café/workspace for the community to use.
Working on a comparatively small contained site, Hollaway Studio has designed a building that grows out of the site increasing in size as it rises up. The huge concrete bowls of the ‘bowl floor’ skate level dominates the experience of F51. Suspended above the ground floor, they appear to hang mid-air, defying gravity and dictating the form of the building, creating an extraordinary sensation to stand beneath them from where you can view the bowls and hear the skateboards above. Using materials that clearly convey F51’s urban setting and use, Hollaway Studio also challenges the very perception of the building and its scale. The curved form means that there is never an end point to the building and its near windowless state removes any reference points to understand its scale. It is inside the building that its immense size becomes clear. On moving through it the building starts to unravel itself. The different floors are designed to manage and control activities easily and the lack of flat surfaces gives an unsteadying sensation – geometry playing tricks on the mind.
“It’s an incredible building. It’s extremely complicated in terms of its construction because it’s a world first. It’s the world’s first multi storey skatepark. We’re going to have skaters skating above your head and you’ll be able to hear the wheels of the skateboard going into the bowl right above you,” explains architect Guy Hollaway. “How often does somebody come along in your career as an architect and say ‘Build me the world’s first multi storey skatepark’? It doesn’t happen so much. So I understand the opportunity and the responsibility that comes with that and the opportunity to really make positive long term change.”
The bowl floor is constructed from spray concrete completely and the other two levels- the street park and flow park – use timber, combining the need for durability with the flexibility to modify and upgrade as skateboarding trends evolve. The timber courses offer possibilities to update or enhance the space as skating and the venue itself evolves.
As Russ Holbert, Director of Maverick Skateparks who designed the concrete bowl level and advised on the other two timber floors, says, “F51 is such a special project. A once in generation idea. The bowls are completely unique. We love the way that they form part of the structure of the building and that the bowls and the building merge together so effortlessly. They are challenging and progressive creations of the highest quality – competition standard structures that sit up in the sky. They are on another level!”
Piers Chapman, Managing Director of Cambian Engineering Solutions, who designed the two timber levels – the flow and street parks , added, “Cambian is proud to have brought to F51 two unique designs that offer a stark contrast to one another, and both formed beautifully from the world’s most sustainable material, wood. Stand-out projects like F51 are often talked of but rarely happen! The journey to create F51 has been full of world firsts, and we know the results will speak for themselves. It is an incredible commitment to the action sports community in the UK.”
World’s First Purpose Built Multi Storey Skatepark
The three skate areas elevated above ground level of F51 are dedicated to different levels of ability, again underlining how the building will be open to all. The first floor is a concrete bowl, where two bowls sit side by side, one inspired by one of the iconic empty swimming pools from Dogtown, Southern California. In 1976-77 a major drought saw swimming pools emptied in order to conserve water. The local ‘Z-boys’ (Zephyr Competition Team of American skateboarders) recognised how the pool’s architecture could be adapted for their own skateboarding needs and seized the opportunity of using the bowl shape to practice catching air on the deep curves and even taller sides. The images of the skaters using the drained concrete pools has become synonymous with the skateboarding aesthetic. Hollaway Studio continues this by creating an architectural feature out of it. The shape of the underside of the bowl will be clearly visible from the exterior of the building and will be a centre point to the ceiling of the entrance level café space so it is clear what the building’s foremost use is for throughout.
The second floor is made of plywood timber as a ‘Street’ park combining elements of both bowl parks and street plazas, with obstacles such as stairs, railings and benches to perform increasingly elaborate tricks. The third floor, the largest at the top floor of the building, is also constructed from plywood timber and is set up as a ‘Flow’ park with shallow dips. In a well-designed flow park such as this, a skater can move around the park’s curved walls, which includes features such as quarter pipes, pump bumps, and bowl corners, without taking their feet off to push.
Linking all three of the floors is the climbing wall, something that has never previously existed in Folkestone and which will be the tallest climbing wall in the South East of England. Like skateboarding, sport climbing is also recognised for the first time at the Tokyo Olympics this August. The F51 climbing wall is one of only three in the UK that is appropriate for Olympic speedwall training.
Martin Sandall, Managing Director of Jenner, the construction company behind F51, stated
“Jenner are delighted to have successfully delivered the flagship building that now stands before us in the form of F51. In its magnitude it represents the courageous ambition of our client, for whom it has been a pleasure to construct. F51 has been an incredibly challenging project due to the truly bespoke nature of its design, from the suspended concrete bowls of the first floor which structure the entire building, through to the bespoke panellised mesh façade system which has pieced together much like a gigantic jigsaw. But with great challenge comes immense pride in the finished form and the quality of the building and the exceptional facilities it provides is sheer testimony to the unrelenting efforts and dedication of the entire team. As a business founded in Folkestone in 1875, delivering a scheme that will have such a profound impact upon the local community is truly an honour. Constructing a world-first and a totally unique building that will act as a catalyst for further regeneration in Folkestone is an important part of our company legacy.”
Set within Folkestone’s Creative Quarter, on the edge of one of the town’s most deprived wards, F51 will offer membership set at a notional amount of £1 each month and will serve as a one-stop-shop for the most extraordinary set of social services. Its mission is to provide Folkstone’s youth with a place of their own, and where permission to take risks, to wonder, to have fun, and to actively achieve results in that most natural state of being: a hugely happy childhood. With the Covid-19 pandemic having so detrimentally impacted on opportunities for play, F51 opens at a pivotal time for many of the local youth. The aim will be to invest in this generation, with the aim that it will go on to invest in the one that follows – generational regeneration.
“Folkestone is my backyard. We’re local architects and I’m so passionate about Folkestone. I would much rather spend my time and my energy in the place that I live and in the place that I love.” Guy Hollaway explains. “I’m really passionate about the change that’s happening here and how we can make positive change and how, in our own small way, in terms of the buildings we are creating, these can bring about new beginnings and a really different feeling about the place. F51 is all about young people. It’s about the next generation and it’s about regenerating a town for the next generation. It’s really putting young people at the centre of the town. Ordinarily you wouldn’t expect a skatepark to be in the town centre. Normally it would be out of town and it wouldn’t be part of the community, whereas this is really encouraging young people to come and to say to them ‘you’re the most important customer in town because you are the future.’”
Architecture for Play
The four-storey building offers more than skateboarding, with additional spaces created for a climbing wall, a bouldering course and facilities for boxing.
“It sounds dangerous doesn’t it?” says architect Guy Hollaway. “We’re shrouding our children in what feels like cotton wool to protect them all the time, but I think – as the world becomes safer – a controlled adrenaline facility is what young people need.”
The climbing wall offers climbable surfaces of nearly 600 square metres, including ‘top rope’, ‘lead climbing’ and ‘bouldering’. The boxing gym features a competition-size boxing ring.
In addition to the activity-led spaces, F51 has commissioned a number of artists, both local and international, to create site specific works which are displayed within the space, as large murals and site specific pieces across the different floors and within the café space. The inclusion of these artworks and the opportunity to host various cultural events within the building opens it up to further audiences and also ties in with Folkestone’s major international arts festival, Creative Folkestone Triennial, which runs again in 2021.
Numerous studies have underlined the importance that architecture can have upon the notion of play for children. Hollaway Studio has considered this thinking extensively in their designs for F51 by creating a building that actively encourages play and exploration by all who spend time there. Pushing boundaries and giving young people the freedom that contemporary society has increasingly limited, resulting in them retreating to screens, F51 will challenge them physically and mentally all within a safe and accessible space.
Investing in Folkestone
F51 will be managed by The Sports Trust, the Folkestone independent not-for-profit sports charity, previously known as Shepway Sports Trust, established to encourage participation and excellence in sport. The Sports Trust will use the new facility as a base from which to support local clubs, strengthening their connections with primary and secondary schools and encouraging people of all ages to adopt a more active lifestyle.
Dan Hulme, chief executive of The Sports Trust, said, “We are incredibly honoured that The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust has gifted this world-class building to The Sports Trust and we are excited to bring this extraordinary venue to life. As a charity that has been working in Folkestone for over eight years to create inclusive and inspiring environments for people to love sport, we are confident that Folkestone 51 will bring enviable opportunities and experiences to local people for generations to come. F51 is open to everyone and the team at The Sports Trust will be working hard to ensure that the sports hosted at the park are accessible to all, regardless of age, gender, ability or background. It is an exciting and pivotal moment for sport in Folkestone and we look forward to welcoming you to this incredible venue.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
Architect – Hollaway Studio
Construction – Jenner Group
Concrete Skatepark Design – Maverick Skateparks
Timber Skatepark Design – Cambian Action
Engineers – Ramboll
Operator – The Sports Trust
About Hollaway Studio (formerly Guy Hollaway Architects)
Hollaway Studio is an award-winning architecture and interiors practice that places people and feeling at the core of its philosophy of architecture. With offices in London and Kent and a strong reputation for design, the practice is working in a wide range of sectors including hospitality, hotels, restaurants, education and housing. In recent years it has worked on a number of large-scale regeneration schemes including the restoration of five listed buildings into a mixed-use site involving four TV & Film Studios, Post Production, educational facilities and residential.
Recent projects include the award-winning Process Gallery for artist Nick Veasey; the first new-build Picture-house in the UK at Ashford for developers Stanhope; a new winery, gin works and brewery for Chapel Down; and a number of large regeneration and housing schemes in London including Bromley South Central for U & I, and the Fisheries in Hackney’s London Fields.
About The Sports Trust
Founded in 2013, The Sports Trust (formerly Shepway Sports Trust) has been part of Folkestone, Hythe, and Romney Marsh celebrating sport as a powerful tool for social improvement. As a not-for-profit charity, The Sports Trust works across schools, sports clubs and in the local community dismantling barriers to sport participation and sharing their firm belief sports and exercise are essential components to a healthy and united society.
Using their wealth of knowledge and expertise, The Sports Trust is committed to creating inclusive and inspiring environments for people to love sport and exercise, whatever their motivation may be. Their work spans throughout a number of dynamic
sporting venues operated by the charity, including Three Hills Sports Park and Folkestone Sea Sports. The Sports Trust is delighted to enter the next chapter of their mission with the opening of their new multi-sports venue, the highly anticipated and world-first multi-storey skatepark, Folkestone 51, which is set to champion future generations of skateboarders, BMXers, climbers and boxers, whose journeys will begin in the heart of Folkestone.
About Roger De Haan Charitable Trust
The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust was established in 1978 by Sir Roger De Haan CBE DL, Chairman of Saga Group, and his late father Sidney, Saga’s founder. One of the Trust’s aims has been to support charities and community groups in and around the Folkestone area. The Trust continues to offer financial support to a variety of charities and community organisations in the area, and provides considerable support to local sport and recreation projects. In many cases, the Trust is also able to offer advice and access to professional expertise. This is designed to help grant applicants to realise and manage their projects in a practical and cost-effective manner. The Trust is also giving considerable support to sport and recreation projects in the area, mainly through grants to enable development and improvements to facilities managed by sports clubs.
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