In addition to being uncomfortable to sleep on, the major reason that the Camden bench was invented was because it’s impossible to skate on. Or so the designers thought.
This article features a video of skaters hurling themselves at the concrete, graffiti-resistant benches, with varying degrees of success.
Examples of hostile architectural vary from very obvious, such as the controversial ‘anti-homeless’ spikes that appeared outside a London apartment block recently, to quite subtle, like rivets put on handrails to stop skaters. Photographer Marc Vallee has made two photographic projects documenting all of the obstacles councils have put in place to stop public skating.
Architectural historian Iain Borden wrote a book called Skateboarding, Space and the City: Architecture and the Body, which studies public skating as a creative, political act. He says that the emergence of hostile architecture, “suggest(s) we are only republic citizens to the degree that we are either working or consuming goods directly”.
One of the skaters in the video is Dylan Leadley-Watkins, who says, “Whatever the authorities want to do to try to destroy public space, they can’t get rid of everyday people who can come through an area without having to spend money and do something that they enjoy.”