Transformation of abandoned train engine depot into innovative street sports and culture facility GAME Streetmekka is the transformation of an abandoned industrial train engine depot into a vibrant cultural and social platform for street sports, creativity and community. The multifunctional cultural center is created with the vision to make street sports and culture inclusive and accessible on a year-round basis – even in the Scandinavian climate.
Located in Esbjerg, Denmark, the fifth largest city and youngest big city in Denmark, the project will be a significant upgrade of unorganized sports and culture in Esbjerg - with much of the program being the first of its kind in the city. Aimed at kids, teenagers and young adults who do not feel at home in the mainstream sports culture, the goal is to keep the young people “off the streets” by keeping them engaged in street sports and culture, keeping them on the right track.
The spontaneous and unorganized character of street sports and street culture does not fit into any of the existing conventional sport facilities and the demand for a new type of facility for the world’s fastest growing sport is ever increasing. At the same time, heavy industry is vacating the city centers leaving behind empty unused wastelands and buildings, often already occupied by skaters and street artists.
The distinct aesthetics of a typical raw industrial building – the train engine roundhouse – is transformed into a facility that supports and embraces the new wave of emerging unorganized street activities. The result; a synergy of vibrant street culture and preservation of authentic cultural heritage.
Architecturally the new facility is a reinterpretation of the existing structure, which was originally designed as a typical roundhouse with a turntable in the central courtyard. New halls are placed in the same geometry in a variety of outdoor and indoor spaces, each with their distinctive function and expression, creating a coherent multifunctional street culture compound.
The program includes a covered area for transition and bowl skate, interior and exterior street basket courts, a street dance area, an indoor street skate arena, workshop areas for DJ-schools and street art, meeting rooms, administration offices, a cafe, kitchen, changing rooms and a large social area and reception. Small niches are located throughout the building to promote informal hangouts in between activities.
In the heart of the compound an enclosed street sport plaza and large outdoor social space is located. This is also the point of arrival where you immediately get an overview of all the activities and their individual location.
The building is completed and opened to the public in January 2016. In less than four months Streetmekka received more than 18.000 visitors and memberships have well exceeded 2000 members aging between 4 and 60 years of age - only a handful more and it will be the largest organisation in the entire municipality of Esbjerg Kommune.