F51 - The Story

Folkestone, UK

The worlds first purpose built multi-storey skatepark, more than 5 years in the making, opened it's doors in April 2022. Here's a short story of the evolution of the building.

© Hollaway Studio

Big Dreams

Some people think big, but most of the time, these are just dreams. Here with the support of The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust one such dream – a big one – has become a reality.

Behold, the worlds first purpose-built multi-storey skatepark – a unique piece of architecture conceived by Guy Holloway Architects. A mixed use facility incorporating 3 floors of skatepark, climbing and bouldering, and a home for the local boxing club.

And all of this in a town centre location, in one of the South Coast’s most up and coming towns, Folkestone.


Good things rarely come easily, and this project has been no exception!

Cambian first joined the project team back in 2016, when it was realised that putting concrete skateparks on three levels was proving to be a structural and commercial impossibility. Our engineered timber structures, initially for the third floor only, were favoured due to the significant weight saving offered relative to reinforced concrete.

Our involvement in the project grew to include a consultancy role, alongside the design and build element, where we completely re-designed the scheme for both the 2nd and 3rd floors.


As part of a complete structural re-design, the building transformed from almost entirely reinforced concrete to a steel frame. The café moved downstairs and the boxing club out of the basement.

All this steel, and our wooden parks, still sit on top of what are undoubtedly the worlds first ‘floating’ concrete bowls. Engineered by Ramboll UK and surfaced by our friends at Maverick Skateparks. A remaining element of the original architectural vision – walking into the building the flowing concrete forms an exciting teaser of what lies above.

A House of Parks

Our advice to clients on selection of premises for skateparks the most fundamental requirement is clear – look for open spaces with good headroom. This project is quite different – multiple structural columns and pressure on headroom due to stacking the parks.

Unquestionably the most constrained skatepark design challenge we have encountered.

Our designs for the Flow and Street Floors treat these constraints in fundamentally different ways, to create two very different and equally unique designs.

Plan view of floor 2 of F51, showing the street section Plan view of floor 3 of F51, showing the flow section

Offsite Engineered Perfection

Following the delivery of one of our flagship projects -The Source Park, Hastings – Cambian were the obvious choice to tame the installation complexity of this project.

Our fully CAD designed, CNC machined and off-site assembled modular methods were employed to creating the highly complex shapes for the park designs. These methods of working not only minimised on-site time – especially important where access constraints are so tight – but also is widely known for resulting in the smoothest ramps the world over.

Level+3 = Flow

‘The Flow Floor’ – as it was originally christened by the guys at Maverick it is just that – the entire floor is one smoothed out snaking bowl.

We were super into the flowing lines we inherited here, but still had to dial in the design to cater for the building and how it has evolved. New steel, new fans, lower cranked beams and so on.

The result maintains the fluidity with super smooth curves filling the space – blending the ride-able with the structural – where the columns and vert wall are fully transitioned to the ceiling.

A lifetimes worth of lines.

Level+2 = Street

This floor is all new – since originally street was going to be top floor – but various changes to the building lead us to move it down a level.

Whilst it went down a floor – we ratchet up the creativity several levels in our new design – the result is quite, well err, street!

We’ve set this one out to try and open up every line between every column – of which there are many columns and many lines. This means as much as possible, all the shapes allow something different from every direction. Then a load of ledges and rails that can be moved and changed over time to keep things fresh.

Invest – Unite

This project is so much more than the sum of it’s parts.

Enabled by incredible generosity, the project will be run on a charitable basis by the Shepway Sports Trust. Locals will be able to ride, skate and climb for next to nothing. The aim to build a community – a hub for the young people of Folkestone – which will doubtless be enjoyed by a few silver surfers too!

A model for how investing can deliver exceptional – transformational results – not just in the physical sense.

F51 – Open Now!

A project journey like no other we’ve ever been on….

Never before has a skatepark been embodied so completely within a piece of purpose built architecture. As with any piece of design work, the evolution of this building has been a convoluted and twisting path beset by trade-off and challenge.

The latest, and in some ways greatest challenge, has lead to substantial delay in construction. Our park has been in storage for months awaiting the point where we are finally able to deliver and play our part in finishing the construction chapter of this story.

We hope the result will be worth the wait – look forward to rolling the floors with you all when the doors finally open – next chapter in this incredible story will be written by you all.