Parkour Training Centre
This training facility was created to serve a multitude of activities and users. It was designed soon after the 'Jump London' documentary came out and began not as an alternative place to learn Parkour but as a safer place for beginners to learn before progressing to train outdoors with confidence. It's purpose was to tackle the dangers faced by beginners who lack the proper guidance of more experienced practitioners.
Dangers such as weathered structures, unstable architecture and a lack of understanding / respect for your surroundings. At the time of the design, commercial estates and children's parks acted as some of the best places to practice. The Centre offers a place to train free from worried parents and office security. A place where you youths can train safely at night and with professional guidance.
As Parkour is an art where the practitioner (commonly known as a traceur) would adapt themselves to their environment it seemed strange to approach this project in reverse, adapting an environment for the practitioner. This was done by including a mixture of architectural elements found within our cities offering the users maximum experience enabling them to go on to train outdoors with confidence.
Not only were there elements found in everyday architecture but elements that you would not find anywhere else. Architecture that pushes the users beyond their comfort levels, encouraging them to think and move in new ways. The idea of the centre is not to offer an alternative space to train other that the streets but to create a community and to offer a place to begin your Parkour journey before taking it out into the world with confidence and passion.
My experience in design and construction helped me allocate new and innovative materials to the site which in themselves can both create a sense of security allowing the traceur to go further than they had thought and/or a heightened sense of risk/fear to help them overcome their fears whilst at the same time all inside a safe and supervised environment.
The environment itself is controlled by lighting at night to give the users the sense of being outside with low level park and street lamps dimly illuminating pathways and buildings as they would outdoors. This coupled with a darkly sprayed ceiling would give the user the perspective of training outdoors at night. Faux trees and bushes have been created to withstand repeated human interaction whilst contributing to the realism of the space.
The space is broke into three stages. A beginners zone with sprung flooring, mats and obstacles often found in schools classes. An intermediate section made up of architectural elements and in some areas protective materials such as thin compressed foam for a reduced amount of additional protection.
The third section is located outside the centre with no shelter, no mats or protection of any kind, exposing the elements to the weather, exactly as it will be once the practitioners leave to train outdoors elsewhere.
The design also includes and tiered running track, a full gymnastic zone, dance studios for varied hire use, bouldering and rock climbing walls. Amongst the Parkour areas you will find a huge variety of rails, stairways and obstacles in a range of materials expanding the users experience to its maximum potential. This almost film set-esque environment offers more than just training for Traceur's but opportunities for schools to visit. Classes like film studies and media, photography, art, drama could all benefit
from the space. Many forms of Dance and self defence could be taught in these street like spaces. This selection of imagery and annotation is only a sneak peak of the unique areas and features within the design and has since been thoroughly extended and developed. For more information please feel free to contact me here.
With special thanks to David Goddard with cgi assistance and Danny Morrison for his marketing illustrations
New Designers Selection:
Selected to be one of 50 out of 2000 students
While exhibiting this project at New Designers I was chosen to re-exhibit at New Designer Selection which took place at the OXO Tower in London. See here an image of the stand. Below an A2 presentation board sits a video display exhibiting my design from videos of in-experienced Parkour practitioners making mistakes to the a fly-through of the Centre and how it benefits the users.