Skateboarders are a fanatical bunch, warriors on wheels who’ll ollie and grind whenever and wherever they can. Any urban space will do, but if it’s raining or there isn’t a skate park nearby, what’s a skater to do? Answer: live in the Ramp House, newly completed by Acrhivirus Architecture and Design. The Ramp House is exactly what it says it is: less a residence with a ramp than a seamless integration of half-pipe and homestead.
Given the brief of creating a “skatable habitat”, architect Athanasia Psaraki launched into creating “a curved form interior which set the whole house as well as the inhabitant’s life into motion.” She tells Environmental Graffiti: “It was more a project of passion and creativity than functionality.”
This was an undertaking that could genuinely claim to redefine a living space – actually a roof addition to a three-storey building – given that homes are not designed for skating, just as skate parks tend not to be the homeliest places.
Psaraki strove to achieve a harmonious balance between the old and the new. A wooden pergola and wooden horizontal louvers envelop the entire structure, connecting the building as it was with the way it is now – while also offering an airy spot from which to watch the action.
Far from simply having a mini-ramp installed in a living room, the skateboarding factor was incorporated into the very design details, making a home fully capable of being skated – frontside, backside, anyside. As the architect says:
“For me, the challenge of this project was to make a living space where the ramp, the bowl and all the interpretations of those terms would actually become the building elements for this space.”
Thus, by way of the architect’s imagination, straight lines became curved, and flat surfaces found new meaning as part of a ramp or a bowl. Psaraki says:
“Playing with these forms and with the variable transitions which they offer, my main goal was to create a functional open space where aspects of daily life would adopt ‘the feeling of acceleration.’”
With this in mind, Psaraki designed a home where the living room is no longer just a living room but a mini-ramp that turns into a bowl – which in turn creates a partition with the bedroom and bathroom. Meanwhile, elements like the fireplace and storage units are hidden within the ramp structures.
Through a merging of styles, concrete supplies the street skate aesthetic while wood provides a warm ambiance. Concrete walls mould into the floor, which then becomes wood, forming a ramp separating the kitchen. In this last space, at least, surely the crockery makes kick-flips a faux pas? But no.
Psaraki also reveals that experts were very much – sorry – on board: “The ramp transitions were made on site by skater friends who had experience skating mini ramps while construction details were drawn after extensive research via the internet and people who might know!
The final effect? A skater’s dream that wouldn’t alienate those who just want an environment to chill in; a smooth environment where you “can flow from one space to the other, skating or walking”.
Turning a home into a play park for your pastime of choice is probably not a luxury everyone can aspire to, but for those who can it’s a pretty rad idea. It more than set Psaraki’s creativity in motion, with the architect concluding: “At the end of this project I definitely adopted ‘the feeling of acceleration.’”
With special thanks to Athanasia Psaraki for her insightful comments and kind permission for use of the images.