Livingston Skatepark

Name: Livingston Skatepark

Alternative Name: Livi Skatepark

Location: Almondvale Park, Livingston

NGR: NT05580 67068

Classification: Sport and Recreation

Date: 1981 with later additions

Architect: Iain and Dee Urquhart

Status: not listed

Canmore ID: none

Description: Skatepark integrated into Almondvale Park in the heart of Livingston New Town. Extract from article ‘Snaggle rats: three young skaters and the fight to save Livingston Skatepark’ Iain Urquhart, an award-winning Scottish architect, was working for the Livingston Development Corporation (LDC) in the 1970s. Along with his wife, Dee Urquhart, he was pivotal in nurturing the Scottish skate scene at that time, establishing and running the Scottish Skateboard Association and creating the first ever Scottish skate magazines. So Iain grasped the opportunity to propose a skatepark to the LDC. Iain’s architecture skills, knowledge of materials, attention to detail and dogged persistence made it happen. Iain and Dee made research trips to iconic Californian and European skateparks.

Iain was known not only for the pipe in his mouth but the measuring tape in his pocket. He was always measuring angles and sections of skateparks and this fed into his beautifully handwritten drawings of Livi. The bowl was ahead of its time – he designed and created a wooden ‘transition machine’, shown in the documentary, that successfully created the perfect angle and smoothness of the bowl. He also tweaked the design of the halfpipe to make it flat-bottomed, enabling skaters to have the chance to prepare for their next trick. This is what made Livi (known then as Rock ‘n Roll skatepark) a properly designed skatepark. The word spread about how good Livi was and skaters from around Europe travelled to Livi to experience it for themselves.

What put Livi on the map was Californian pro-skaters Steve Caballero and Mike McGill skating the park in 1982. Iain and Dee had a major coup and flew these boys over for a demo. The event was massive. Approximately 2,000 people flocked to Livi and the boys loved skating the park.

It has been nearly 40 years since Livi was built. The bowls were successfully resurfaced in the late 80s, coping was fitted and the smaller bowl was resurfaced more recently. But on the whole the original section is gnarly with a really rough surface, cracks, and holes. Money available over the years seems to have been spent on expanding the park but not much put into the iconic section. 

Parisa Urquhart and Ling Lee’s documentary Long Live Livi was broadcast on BBC Scotland and is available on the iPlayer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s