Viktor Timofeev / Riga
My initial project for Gropiusstadt came to a halt the very first hour of my arrival – the plan of scouring to this utopia for skateboard spots was broken up by a sprained ankle on the first spot I encountered. The fountain spot right outside of metro station Lipschitzallee was already being heavily sessioned by a pack of locals, and on the third try I simply didn’t ollie high enough on the roll-in. I made the best of the situation, limped to the house and simply absorbed and explored the environment. It gave me time to contemplate the significance of such a popular Berlin skateboard spot existing in Gropiusstadt. I couldn’t help but find a bit of irony in the situation – Gropiusstadt was designed as a kind of utopia, in a time when skateboarding was only used for transporting heavy boxes. The resulting community was thus closed in, and now, quite old, producing an easily tangible sense of isolation, pessimism and inevitably, failure and dystopia. The weekly influx of skateboarders to session the fountain brings youth, subculture and activity that reverses this vapid atmosphere and creates balance. Some marble gets chipped and a few pensioners get upset, but that easily outweighs the creation of a more balanced overall community. Let this be a lesson to urban planners of today and tomorrow – consider skateboarding.