Transformation of an abandoned church into a temple of art and skateboarding

First, the Church Brigade team transformed the interior of the church into a skate park, resulting in an attractive combination of the existing container (old, static, religious) and the added content (modern, dynamic, rebellious). An innovative formula that is particularly opportune in a context that receives 200 days of rain a year. Later, Madrid based artist Okuda confirmed the transformation of the space with a huge mural that represents a new radical change, in this case from the original atmosphere, introverted and homogeneous, to an eccentric and multicolor aesthetic. Here, the union of art and skate has revived an abandoned space that preserves the memory of its past without sacrificing its present.

“From the outside, there is little that distinguishes this 100-year-old church in the northern Spanish town of Llanera from any other. But step inside the Romanesque revival structure and you’ll find a space transformed: where there were pews there is now a half pipe; prayers have given way to ollies and peeling paint has been replaced with a riot of colour.”


“For the past five years a local association dedicated to skateboarding has been working to convert this abandoned church into a skatepark. ‘It was pretty much in ruins when we started the project,’ said Ernesto Fernández Rey. ‘The walls were stained, paint was peeling and there was dust everywhere.’

Built in 1912, the church of Santa Barbara was once a focal point for the workers at a nearby munitions factory. But when the factory shut its doors at the end of the Spanish civil war, the church fell into disuse. The space had been abandoned for decades when Fernández Rey came across it. […] He decided to use it to feed his love of skateboarding. ‘It’s got really interesting architecture, with high ceilings and lots of light’.

The prospect of a one-of-a-kind indoor skatepark was a hit, particularly given that the area receives 200 days of rain a year. Calling themselves the Church Brigade, Fernández Rey and his friends formed an association to collect money and build a ramp. As their funds grew, they poured the proceeds into expanding the skatepark.

Word soon began to spread about the project. After the Madrid street artist Okuda San Miguel stumbled across a photo online showing the group skateboarding in the church, he approached them to ask if he could paint murals in the space. San Miguel took care of raising funds for the project, setting up a crowdfunding space and recruiting corporate sponsors. ‘It’s like my personal Sistine Chapel,’ he said.”












(Only Spanish)


 (via The Guardian)

Imágenes: La Iglesia Skate, Red Bull Media, okudart