Prague underpass transformed into a colorful skate park
U / U Studio has transformed a run-down space into a new community asset using minimal interventions.
Underneath an elevated busy road in central Prague, a neglected pedestrian underpass has been restored into a colorful public area that supports skateboarding, basketball, BMX, climbing, and other activities. Though this space was previously avoided, it is now hoped that a diverse spectrum of residents and tourists, particularly young people, will use it and feel welcome.
Local architecture firm U / U Studio, known for constructing interesting skate parks around the Czech capital and beyond, oversaw the renovation. ‘As “skate architects”, we immediately knew that implementation of skateboarding and other leisure activities is the perfect way of healing this area,’ says Martin Hrouda from U / U Studio. ‘The skate community occupied this spot right after opening and is taking care of it. Putting new life and joy into the spot seems to be working and the place has become safe for everyone.’
The project team prioritized reuse, using just a few new materials to alter the area for improved public usage. Colorful paint in red, pink, and orange has been utilized to brighten the concrete building, including creating a makeshift basketball practice area. In addition, ramps have been installed to allow for skating and BMX. The project also includes public seats and underpass illumination. The skating aspects were provided by skatepark builders Bonidee Skateparks, while the paintings were created by skateboarder and visual creator Jakub Karlík.
‘The underpasses have been more of a poorly lit maze in recent years, which everyone prefers to avoid,’ says Hana Třeštíková, Prague city councilor for culture and tourism. ‘We asked ourselves what to do with such a specific space in the center of Prague so that it does not remain an unused dead place… Thanks to the great commitment of a number of skillful and creative people, we managed to wake up this inhospitable zone and create an original community space.’ The skate park and associated sports elements will be open to the public free of charge all year round.