100-year-old church reinvented as skateboard park
'It’s my personal Sistine Chapel' says street artist San Miguel of Manuel del Busto's Romanesque Revival church
A Madrid-based street artist has transformed a historic Spanish church into a skateboarders’ paradise. The formerly abandoned Church of Santa Barbara in the northern Spanish town of Llanera is now a multi-coloured indoor skate park.
Okuda San Miguel was commissioned by the local skating collective that saved the church to create the colourful geometric murals across the high walls and vaulted ceiling. “It’s like my personal Sistine Chapel,” he says.
The collective, Church Brigade, raised funds to revamp the 20th century church with San Miguel’s help. The Romanesque revival structure was originally designed by the Cuban-born Asturian architect Manuel del Busto in 1912. “It was pretty much in ruins when we started the project,” says Ernesto Fernández Rey of Church Brigade. “The walls were stained, paint was peeling and there was dust everywhere.” Now known as Kaos (chaos) Temple, the church’s pews have been replaced by a curved timber ramp.
As well as his geometric forms, San Miguel is known for his headless animals and disproportionate human bodies. Born in Santander, he has exhibited widely, from India and Latin America to South Africa and continental Europe. Many of his most impressive murals cover the sides of vast buildings around the world. For more interesting takes on architecture check out Jutaku, our book of diminutive Japanese houses and for more unusual art outside the gallery system take a look at Wild Art. And you can see plenty more collectible artist skateboards over at Artspace.