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.