In London, England, the Southbank Centre and Long Live Southbank (LLSB) have announced the launch of a £790,000 joint crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to restore Queen Elizabeth Hall’s Undercroft space at Southbank Centre.
The vibrant development will include a new space for children and young people to engage in learning and creative activities, organised by Southbank Centre, and a new space for skateboarding, graffiti and other free creative pursuits.
The project has already seen the support of legendary skateboarders Mark “Gonz” Gonzales and Tony Hawk, with Hawk saying, “Southbank is an iconic skate area, and can be beneficial in the development of skateboarding worldwide. I support this restoration so that future generations have access to a globally important creative space in the heart of London.”
The development will extend the existing skate space, with improvements to lighting as well as a restoration of original 1960s banks and concrete paving. It will also create a new learning and education hub for children and young people, a go-to place for young people looking for opportunities in the arts and creative industries. This hub will host interactive new learning and participation events and programmes that will welcome hundreds of school-children and local people to creative projects every day.
The crowdfunding campaign is set to feature a host of special events and collaborations and seeks to raise money from supporters – including the international skateboarding community, general public, businesses and philanthropists – ready for the opening of the space in early 2018. This collaboration will benefit local residents and wider communities, including visitors to London, as well as boosting London’s cultural landscape as a whole.
The Undercroft is the longest continually used skateboarding spot in the world, having been discovered in 1973 by some of the UK’s first skateboarders. It’s been thirteen years since the space due to be restored was last skated, but it has always retained historical importance to skateboarders, with its original architecture and layout the scene of a number of tricks that have gone down in skateboarding history.
Continually used by young people including skateboarders, BMXers, graffiti writers, street artists, filmmakers and photographers, The Undercroft has become a world famous tourist destination, attracting thousands of visitors from across the globe.
Elaine Bedell, Southbank Centre Chief Executive, said of the joint campaign, “This development sees an important new offering for the various communities that regard Southbank Centre as their home. We’re delighted that our recent friendly collaboration with LLSB has led to the creation of this joint proposal which will allow us to create a new dynamic, fully accessible space for educational learning and participation for children, young people and local community groups whilst maintaining and expanding access to the space that is clearly much treasured by London’s skateboarding community.”
Renderings of restored Undercroft © Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios. Photos courtesy of Southbank Centre.