The City of Memphis partnered with A2H for the planning and design of the city’s first public skate park.
As the prime design consultant, A2H served as the project’s civil, electrical, and structural engineer; architect; and landscape architect. The civil and electrical engineering scope included planning and designing the grading and drainage, site layout design, and utility relocation coordination. As architects and landscape architects, A2H designed the areas in and around the park to be aesthetically pleasing with new and existing plantings and to meet safety and accessibility guidelines. In addition, A2H collaborated with an artist from the Urban Arts Council on the design and location of a future public art installation.
Every aspect of the skating structures had to be engineered to precise dimensions and durability standards. This included collaborating with a national specialty skate park subconsultant’s design requirements.
The design gave considerable attention to use of the park land; relocating the site’s previous use, a dog park, to a safer area, while placing the skate park next to the street for ease of access and public visibility. A key goal was to protect and preserve the existing magnolia trees on the site by designing the skate park around them. The final design has the park gracefully surrounding the trees to form an observation area.
Critical to the park’s performance was a smooth surface with seamless transitions. In constructing the runs, ledges, backs, and bowls to be as smooth as possible, large wooden templates were built for use in verifying the exact slopes and angles. The contractor lifted the templates in and out of the excavations as they created the unique in-ground forms. Specialty concrete, Gunite, was also applied with computer precision in thin layers to build the flawless surface in the runs and bowls of the park.
The inspiration for this project was community-driven. This in-ground skate park is the first of its kind in the Mid-South.The park provides wide appeal as a form of popular recreation, and a proud community centerpiece. This project’s strategic location in a transitional urban neighborhood allows access by the entire city, which encourages traffic and ultimately growth in an area of Memphis that needs revitalization.