Building with concrete is a great way to provide a construction project with strength, durability, resilience and visual appeal. As the first-place winner in the American Concrete Institute’s (ACI) 2023 Excellence in Concrete Construction Awards/Decorative Concrete Category, it is clear that Torguson Park’s new concrete-based skatepark has a whole lot of visual appeal. But like all skateparks, the North Bend, Washington, facility needed to be more than nice-looking. Designed by Grindline (a Seattle-based skatepark construction company who specializes in the planning, design, and construction of cast in place concrete skateparks and who has built parks all over the country), it meets high standards for safety, requires little maintenance and promises to provide a fun and challenging environment for its users.
Torguson Park is the principal active recreation park in North Bend and its expansion was part of a master-plan redevelopment. The old 6,000 square-foot, single-bowl-style facility was replaced with one that is nearly 13,000 square feet and is outfitted with exciting elements for all skill levels, as well as a central gathering area.
The new skatepark features a one-of-a-kind flow bowl, a pool style bowl, and a large street skate area to create three separate skating experiences. The park’s features are organized in a progression that provides users the ability to build their skills in an incremental fashion. The design also provides space for future expansion, if needed.
Grindline worked with the community to gather input for the new design and began construction in 2020, staying on schedule even during the COVID-19 pandemic. The skatepark opened in 2021. Ready mixed concrete, supplied by Heidelberg Materials Pacific Northwest, Inc. (previously known as Cadman, Inc.), was applied using the shotcrete method. Using shotcrete helped achieve the smooth-flowing transitions and curves of the design, and ready-mixed concrete allowed Grindline to design and build any shapes imagined, including a rock coping mini pool, a replica of a mountain, stairs, banks, ledges, and curbs. The earthy color palette of the concrete, achieved using integral color, was inspired by nearby Mt. Si, which can be seen from the facility. All concrete and shotcrete were finished by hand-troweling, resulting in a buttery smooth finish. The colored concrete used included EcoCem®PLC in the mix, which lowered the carbon footprint by about 10%.
“The Torguson Skatepark is a great example of the benefits of using concrete for construction projects,” said Jamie Tremain, VP/GM Heidelberg Materials Pacific Northwest, Inc. “Concrete offers a smooth and quick riding surface for skaters and has the versatility that skatepark designers need to create unique and challenging features. It is also stronger and more durable than metal or wood.”
Since opening to the public, the park has been attracting a lot of positive attention from the community it serves.
“The Grindline team is comprised of former professional skateboarders turned concrete craftsmen,” said James Klinedinst, Senior Project Manager, Grindline Skateparks, Inc. “This gives us the best possible perspective on the needs of our parks’ users.”
The story on skateboarders-turned-concrete-designers gets even more interesting. Because skateboarders and concrete are a natural fit—skaters spend hours interacting with the material and develop an intuitive feel for its sculptural potential—a program called Skate4Concrete points passionate skateboarders who are looking to build their careers toward industry opportunities.
“Whether an individual is college-bound or not, there’s a way to make a mark on the skateboarding community and play a bigger role in the sport. Skate4Concrete shares information on concrete construction and supply jobs, along with information on certification. It even connects skaters with details on degree programs,” said Crystal Howard, founder of Project Cornerstone and Skate4Concrete.
- Architectural Firm: Grindline Skateparks, Inc.
- Engineering Firm: MacKay Sposito.
- General and Concrete Contractor: Grindline Skateparks, Inc.
- Concrete Supplier: Cadman, Inc., recently rebranded to Heidelberg Materials Pacific Northwest, Inc.
The team would like to thank the Washington Aggregates & Concrete Association for their support, as well as the ACI Washington Chapter for nominating the skate park project for this international award.