Skip to content

Zap’ Ados Skate Park

Calais, France
Year completed
256.4123904 m2


Create a signal in the landscape
The operation takes place along a canal in St. Pierre, which is the former industrial district of Calais. It continues the urban renewal initiated by La Cité de la Dentelle (by Moatti & Rivière Architects) located a hundred meters downstream. In this bleak urban landscape, the conversion of the existing industrial hall has to be visible.

Reclassify the hall
Prior to handing and processing the existing building had been dilapidated, vandalised and had become structurally unsafe. The first task was to open the dark hall before curettage and structural recovery. This was achieved by removing precast concrete panels on the eastern and western facades to release through-views and bring natural light into the heart of the building.

Express the new assignment of the building
The youth centre and the skate park extends beyond the gable and form two protrusions, which clearly signifies that the building has a new purpose. The architectural expression is unified by a common envelope made of expanded metal, which turns the silhouette from a hanger into a prism protruding from a singular hybrid form.Linking the two programs

Inside the hall the various program elements are organised longitudinally, to optimise the length of the skate tracks and provide an entrance to the youth centre along the southern facade. The long inner wall is covered with an acoustic fabric stretched to form large «dimples». A sinusoid layer of large acoustic baffles is suspended from the ceiling to increase acoustic comfort for users. These technical elements offer inexpensive modifications that morph the inner space and hide the unsightly ceiling.

Create skate tracks
The modules are arranged in a strips logically oriented along the full length of the hall. On the west side a raised platform overlooks the front square. It serves as a high point: the launcher. The bowls (rare in the region) are installed at the east end of the hall to maintain space clearance. These complex curved surfaces are works of joinery and carpentry of great sophistication. A calm initiation zone is arranged along the indoor walkway and punctuated by modules. The modules are made of wood (not concrete) to maintain the adaptability of the skate park and the reversibility of the original allocation of the hall.

Want to see this building's images annotated and in higher resolution? Visit us on a tablet, laptop, or desktop.