Saturday, January 30, 2010

Northside Skatepark Interview

I woke up the other night stressing out about the new Northside skatepark. I had recently discovered that a local contracting company had won the bid for the construction and I worried that a bunch of people more used to building roads and offices would royally fuck up Norfolk’s first skatepark. After doing a bit more research I discovered that Pillar Design Studios would be doing the construction observation to ensure that all the work was done correctly. I caught up with Brad Siedlecki of Pillar to see what’s up with the upcoming park.

What is your job title and duties?
President of Pillar Design Studios L.L.C. I handle and or over see all design, design development, construction documentation and construction management.

What is Pillar's relationship with Artisan?
Pillar handles all the design and construction documentation portions of the projects while Artisan constructs them!

What was your role in the Virginia Beach, Woodstock Plaza?
I co-designed the park and completed the construction documents, though I would like to note I was working for another firm at the time.

What features do you have to talk people out of building? Fullpipes, etc... I don’t like to talk any one out of building anything…everyone has a different style and likes to skate different elements. The one point I always try to make is “Less is more”. You don’t have to cram elements into your park to make it great! The key is to listen to the users and create a park that everyone can enjoy.

How much do you have to change the initial plans you get? Did you have to make many changes to the Northside plans?
It’s pretty rare that I get a design then have to “tweak” it. In the case of the Northside Park, I was brought in by the engineers to make sure that the ideas that they received from the local skaters were properly translated into the skate-able design.

What do you think of the Northside Park?
This park will be great. Everyone likes to skate different elements and I think this design hits all types of styles. Overall I think the Northside Park will be a great competition course.

What part of the process is most frustrating? Politics, there are a lot of aspects involved in the Skatepark process and unfortunately it takes many years of effort before the design stage can even begin.

Do you run into difficulty with contractors not experienced with skateparks?
Yes I have. If a City must use an inexperienced contractor then I would recommend construction observation visits. This will allow me to check over there work periodically throughout the construction process. Though we always recommend having a specialty construction crew involved in the process.

Do they try to cut corners or use methods that are OK for parking garages, etc but not for skateparks? They don’t try to cut corners, they just do not have the experience or expertise to allow them the in-depth knowledge and understanding of what makes each element skate-able. In the past I've had to have contractors remove concrete because they did not meet skateboarding specifications.

What do contractors have the most trouble with?
Transitions! That is why we recommend specialty Skatepark contractors involved in every Skatepark build!

What are common mistakes they make?
The most common mistake would be, inconsistency in the coping reveals.

Do you have a timeline? A start date, an estimated completion date? Opening date?
Construction has started and should be complete by the summer of 2010.

Do you have a favorite skatepark that you have worked on?
Marsh Creek Skate Park in Raleigh, NC that park stands out in my mind. Every part of that park is original.

What exciting trends do you see in skateparks these days?
I see a lot of trends in Skatepark design and build, but what I’m most excited about is the progression in every aspect of skating. We don’t just see street skaters or just trani skaters, we are starting to see all-terrain skaters. And I believe that is because cities are now providing people a chance to ride something they don’t typically have access too.

Do you think the Skate spot/skate dot concept could catch on? Yes, I truly believe in the skate spot idea. Check out my website for more info. Skating from spot to spot and everything in-between is the root of skateboarding…at least it is for me.

(this was the last image I saw as the plan for the park. I think it has changed since then, but this is what I've got)


Anonymous said...

sick design but i see some things that NEED to be changed.

Anonymous said...

Grindline is the skatepro's that are performing the work are one of the best in the world. Look at their web site.....

Anonymous said...

sorry to say that park at woodstock sucks. dorks just stand in front of the FEW skateable transistions waiting to do some other hit. and you wasted tons of money building a huge wall with one foot of tranny and 8 foot of vert. please talk to someone who actually skateboards before you go any further. something similar to the snake runs at kona skatepark in jax beach fla of the ones that used to be at the old asphalt sk8park at trashmore would make more sense. no need to build a bunch of steps and curbs...we can sklate them anywhere!