6 October 2016

It has been suggested recently that Alvar Aalto unknowingly invented the skateboard bowl. In 1939, he designed Villa Mairea in Finland with the world’s first kidney shaped swimming pool. The pool had a rounded floor with a change of depth from one end to the other.

The kidney shaped pool was introduced to California in 1948 by landscape architect Thomas Church, who was a friend of Aalto and heavily influenced by his work. The pool was a part of the Donnell Garden in Sonoma which, along with the Stahl House, came to represent Californian modern living.

Then the story leaps forward to 1975, when California was hit by a severe drought. A summer went by without California’s pools being filled w
ith water. Over that summer, skateboarders starting breaking into properties across the state and experimenting in illicit skate sessions. Many of the tricks created over that summer underpin skateboarding 46 years on.