Carly Benson

Date of Award


Document Type



Landscape Architecture

Thesis Advisor

Anthony Miller


Skateboarding, Madrid


Throughout history, skateboarding has been classified as an alternative sport associated with nonconformity. From small underground skate scenes in urban neighborhoods to the famous 1975 Zephyr Competition Team (Z-Boys) in Venice, California, these exploitative and explorative artists have been told that their art is unimportant or disapproved through expressions, signs, and physical changes to design. Ironically, people cannot stop watching, to the point that the Z-Boys became powerfully influential around the world. They, like their artist counterparts, challenge politics, plan, practice, choreograph, and dare to move outside of social bounds, challenging materials and physics. They are explorers of time and space on levels that the average pedestrian cannot compare. The purpose of this study is to illustrate how street skateboarders, through their exploratory performances, can inform designers through exploitation of factors such as the success of flow throughout a space, usefulness or uselessness of certain forms, and the blurred lines of public versus private. Skateboarding is an active, productive analysis- they are both enthusiasts and critics of landscape architecture and the human sociopolitical factors that it associates with.

Barcelona, Spain, the European “Skateboarding Mecca,” with the sun and sea that parallels the lifestyle where skateboarding began and a possesses a relatively skateboard-tolerant social and political view, was the most idea location to conduct this study. I began my research by exploring the city using maps and word of mouth, and recorded the markings and popularity of street skate-spots throughout the city. It became clear, however, that there was one spot that was the skateboarding epicenter of Barcelona: The Museum of Contemporary Art- Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelonabetter known by its acronym, MACBA.

At the MACBA, I used a visual notation methods [scoring], to analyze how forms were used through time and space, and then linearly scored the innovative connections of forms created through the lines of street skateboarders. My goal is to present the complexities of the moving skateboarders through visual scores that exploit the productive potential of the MACBA, so that designers can create spaces with the unlimited potential of the forms they choose in mind.