Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Save the Southbank Centre skatepark

Last month Southbank Centre unveiled a masterplan to redeveloped the much loved cultural center of London. The plan includes furnishing the fine example of Brutalist architecture with glass, but that isn't even the worse news you will hear about this so called masterplan.

For those who frequents the South Bank, you will recognise the graffiti-covered concrete enclave as the home to British skateboarding. A tourist attraction in its own right, the undercroft is often seen as the cultural and birthplace of British skateboarding. It is also frequented by BMX bikers. Tourists and Londoners alike, with cameras in hand, flock the side with their children to watch skateboarders practice. Kids watch in wonder, perhaps one day will be inspired to return with their own skateboard of their own.

Sadly, it appears that the directors of Southbank Centre envisions a different future. Following the commercial success of the redevelopment of the Royal Festival Hall, they have now turned their eyes on the enclave of the Festival Wing, below the Queen Elizabeth and Purcell Hall. Plans has appeared to turn the undercroft into high rent retail units, which will finance the redevelopment of the entire Festival Wing. It is ironic to see the directors of Southbank Centre, the center of art and cultural innovations in London, would aim to destroy the cultural center of a sub-culture to sell sandwiches.

Southbank Centre is one of my favourite stomping grounds in London. From lovers of classic music and ballet to urban art and counter-culture, it always attracts a mix of sub-cultures together with no ill-feel, all in the name of progression. For a center dedicated to the arts, the South Bank should not be limited to only the bourgeois - it has to be opened to all.

If you are interested in helping save the Southbank Centre skatepark, sign the petition.

1 comment:

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