Lively nightlife, historic architecture, traditional Czech cuisine. Prague is known for many things, but skateboarding doesn’t immediately spring to mind. Yet, over the past three decades, inline skating and skateboarding events have become a staple of the city’s urban culture, with people travelling from around the world to compete. Completed last year, two new skate parks designed by local firm U/U Studio are solidifying Prague as a world-class skateboarding destination. The office’s multidisciplinary team of architects, landscape architects and engineers is fascinated by the intersection of skate culture and urbanism — and shares a goal to design spaces for interaction within the city.
Proposed in response to feedback from residents in the suburban Prague 13 district, who expressed their need for a multifunctional sports and leisure area, Skatepark Řeporyje embraces this ethos. On a former brownfield site next to the BUBEC art centre, U/U studio has designed a social hub versatile enough to cater to all walks of life. An epicentre of sports and culture, the park is complete with a gallery, parkour equipment, a pump track, picnic tables, barbecues, a ping pong table, a wooden stage for events, and an outdoor cinema.
Paved in earth-toned pigmented concrete and lined in painted steel, Skatepark Řeporyje’s undulating surface seamlessly blends into its context. Statues by leading Czech artists Čestmir Suška and Lukáš Rais are interspersed throughout the various ramps to evoke an “unexpected connection between movement and art,” the architects explain. Meanwhile, stepped seating within the sloped landscape offers a place to take in the action — and the surrounding views.
To avoid overheating, relaxation areas are defined by yellow decomposed granite for a natural feel. Though the park is comprised primarily of hard surfacing, an underground drainage system absorbs rainwater on-site.
The architects opted to demolish the fence around the property, fostering a sense of inclusion and accessibility. A diagonal pedestrian path made of concrete tiles links the art centre and town centre, and connects to the city’s network of sidewalks, welcoming the public in. Restrooms, a snack bar, charging stations and a water fountain round out the amenities, while new lights allow the skatepark to be safely used until late at night.
Closer to the urban core, in Prague 7, a second skatepark is also becoming a vital part of the urban fabric — and the city’s nightlife. Dubbed Vltavska Underground, the new public space-meets-night club reinvigorates a former transit underpass, from dark and vacant (a place residents often avoided) to dynamic, lit up in a neon glow.
After a thorough deep cleaning and surface improvement, the underground space was outfitted with new steel and concrete elements that offer durability and easy maintenance. The entrance area, near a public transportation hub, is set up to host pop-up bars and bistros.
Once inside, the long and narrow space is divided into different zones: a dance floor with a mirror and pole dancing poles, obstacles for skateboards, BMX and freestyle scooters, a bouldering wall, a public art gallery, and a relaxation area with swings that offer beautiful views of the city. Inspired by the Vltava River that flows above, a series of linear lights illuminates the tunnel, creating a feeling of safety, while geometric red floor graphics evoke a sense of movement.
Due to its subterranean setting, the underpass can be used by pedestrians and cyclists in any season and at any time of day. Across the street, the same warm hues, geometric patterns, and graffiti-lined walls make for a vibrant outdoor space, complete with a basketball court, more skate ramps, and ample bench seating.
Carefully attuned to their local context, the two skateparks share the same ambitions, yet embody vastly different aesthetics. Integrated with an array of public programs, U/U Studio has designed spaces that skaters and non-skaters alike can enjoy.
Designed by local firm U/U Studio, Vltavska Underground and Skatepark Řeporyje are weaving skateboarding culture into the urban fabric.