Skatepark in a Box at FSB 2023
Mobile skateboarding facilities designed with shipping containers
Following a successful appearance in 2019, Skatepark in a Box returnined at this year’s edition of FSB. The pioneering concept transforms shipping containers into multifunctional sports and leisure facilities. A highly flexible mobile solution, the concept is already in use in various locations. Discover its advantages in person at the sector’s leading trade fair.
Skatepark in a Box is the next generation of mobile skateboarding facilities made from repurposed shipping containers. The concept enables the construction of safe, mobile and multifunctional sports and leisure facilities in almost any location worldwide: in large squares or rural areas or even tucked between buildings in urban spaces – as temporary or permanent installations. Skatepark in a Box is the result of a collaboration between the foundation Stiftung skate-aid, KuKuk Box and Maier Landschaftsarchitektur/Betonlandschaften, a planning office specialising in skate and bike parks.
Skatepark, BMX trail and container all in one
Skatepark in a Box is a mobile combination of a skatepark or another sports facility (such as a BMX trail) and a shipping container. The container not only serves as a storage place for sports equipment or mobile skatepark elements; it also doubles as a meeting place, a distribution point for renting equipment and a seating area. Depending on the requirements, it can be furnished with portable ramps and other fixtures. The containers can store 25 to 30 complete sets (each consisting of a skateboard, helmet and protectors).
Another benefit: Skatepark in a Box can be implemented either as a permanent fixture or for a limited period. Each facility can be set up and dismantled in a very short time and without leaving any traces, freeing it up for use elsewhere. The containers do not require any planning or foundations. They are delivered in a heavy goods vehicle and set up on site.
For social projects, another form of sustainability emerges: Once the facility has been set up, an educational programme is launched on site, with free skateboarding workshops and free provision of sports equipment. The programme trains local coaches, who then continue the project independently. Skatepark in a Box therefore promotes development in several different respects – sporting but also personal and social – and with a sustainable ethos.
In use in four locations
In 2021, the foundation Stiftung RTL gave Skatepark in a Box its approval to launch a project. It includes setting up mobile skateparks at five locations in North Rhine-Westphalia and running regular skateboarding workshops there for one year, including an additional holiday programme. The venture focuses on self-guided learning and on fostering young people’s intrinsic motivation. The actor Wotan Wilke-Möhring – a long-running supporter of the skate-aid foundation and friend of the skateboarding entrepreneur Titus Dittmann – stepped in as the project’s patron and led a call for donations during the RTL donations marathon in 2021 to bring the project to life.
The concept has already been put into action in three locations in Germany and at one international site: in Cologne, Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler and Berlin as well as in Pirlita refugee camp, near the city of Balti in Moldova.
Experience Skatepark in a Box live at FSB
Following the appearance of Skatepark in a Box at FSB 2019, the mobile skateboarding facilities was also be featured in the edition 2023of the event. In a talk titled “Skateboarding facilities as stable social environments – Examples from Nepal and Uganda”, Ralf Maier presented his projects at the planerFORUM 2023 on Tuesday, 24 October. In addition, on Wednesday, 25 October, the landscape architect provided insights into Skatepark in a Box’s work in the Auf dem Kölnberg district of Cologne, one of the city’s biggest social trouble spots. The BDLA TAG NRW, hosted by the regional branch of the Federation of German Landscape Architects, has also picked up on the topic at the planerFORUM on Thursday, 26 October.
Interested parties who wanted to get to know the concept first-hand were also in the right place at the Skatepark in a Box event in the outdoor area next to Hall 9. Following the bottom-up principle, ideas and suggestions for improvement could be effectively communicated to those responsible on all four days of the fair. Together with the partners Betonlandschaften Maier Landschaftsarchitektur and the company Kukuk, visitors to the fair could experience the project and try it out for themselves.
Photography exhibition: Identity Formation through Skateparks
Sport empowers us, especially as a community. When the demands of everyday life become overwhelming, our need for a release and stability becomes even greater. We know this; studies have demonstrated it. In crisis regions, sport and sports facilities therefore assume an enormous importance. FSB 2023 demonstrated this impressively with the photography exhibition Identity Formation through Skateparks and the talk “Skateparks – Building blocks for peace work in crisis regions”.
Skateboarding facilities combine many different aspects: sports, personal growth and social development. They provide a competitive arena with few rules and immense scope for individuality. It’s not about achieving personal bests, but about identity, self-confidence and sticking together. All this makes skateboarding facilities schools for life in crisis regions.
Ralf Maier has built many of these facilities – including in Afghanistan, Bethlehem, Namibia, India, Damascus and most recently Nepal. The photography exhibition Identity Formation through Skateparks presented his work at the edition of FSB from 24 to 27 October 2023. Powerful large-scale images showing the skateparks and the happy crowds they attract were exhibited along the Boulevard of the trade fair grounds.
Since skateboarding pioneer Titus Dittmann founded skate-aid in 2009, we have realised social skatepark projects for disadvantaged children and young people in countries such as Uganda, Namibia, Palestine, Syria and Nepal. In areas where social injustice and difficult living conditions prevail, skate-aid supports children’s development, thereby promoting self-guided learning. skate-aid also offers guidance and contributes to gender equality. Our projects increase self-worth, intrinsic motivation and community spirit, personal responsibility and sense of purpose.
Our mission at skate-aid is simple: We empower kids!
About KuKuk Box
KuKuk Box has been building artistically designed, innovative and style-defining play and outdoor spaces across the world for over 15 years. The KuKuk Box family is formed of an experienced team of artists, architects, joiners, carpenters, metalworkers and educators. Together, they develop attractive playgrounds.
About Maier Landschaftsarchitektur/Betonlandschaften
Ralf Maier, proprietor and Cologne-based landscape architect, has specialised in planning skate and bike parks. His practice has worked with skate-aid on a pro bono basis since 2009 to develop and plan skatepark projects worldwide (including in Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine, India and Namibia).