Making a sleek piece from a pig’s ear

Pig Ear
Pig Ear

A significant proportion of people who come across this website have searched for “skate deterrent” or “skateboarding control” or something along those lines; I don’t know what the split is between those who are ‘for’, ‘against’ or just ‘interested in’ disciplinary architecture of this kind.

Anyway – here’s an example of ‘pig ears’ outside Abbey National‘s headquarters (just off the Euston Road in London) which have been styled more sympathetically to work with the architecture of the surroundings as well as protecting the marble (-effect?) slabs (and no, I don’t know if the undulating turf is some kind of executive mini-golf course).

Presumably these pig-ears are readily available items from architectural suppliers. Whilst they’re less ‘hostile’ in appearance than many, I don’t quite see why they need to taper to a sharp point other than to give a slightly threatening air. What would happen if a member of the public tripped/slipped and was injured specifically by the pig ear as opposed to the edging itself?

More examples of skateboarding deterrent design from a great paper by Ocean Howell.

(UPDATE – Oct 2006: The two Ocean Howell links above were broken – they now point to mirrors of the original articles – one mine, one Wayback Machine’s)

Below: An ugly example from Cambridge’s Sidgwick Site.

University of Cambridge, Sidgwick Site


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  3. Anonymous

    More examples of skateboarding deterrent design from a great paper by Ocean Howell.

    The links are now placeholders for a finance company. 🙁

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  5. Dan

    Thanks for the tip, Anonymous. I’ve now updated those links to point to mirrors of the articles.

  6. Jeremy

    I’m a lapsed skateboarder and now a ‘fully functioning member of society’. When anti-skateboard deterrents were placed onto existing architecture it used to be labelled by skateboarders as ‘Corporate Vandalism’, you’ve probably come across this expression before.
    Understandably, companies don’t want their ledges crumbling and coated in wax, nor do they want any outside influences altering their image.
    It’s a shame though, to see an innocent recreational pastime being stifled. Perhaps they don’t need to go quite so far. Some of those tiled banks don’t really need texturing as during hours there’ll be staff on hand to chase away any cheeky perpetrators. At night or at weekends these places can provide a safe calm environment for skaters to practice.

  7. craig

    We are a comercial managing agent who have mant problems with skate boarders ruining walls etc can i have a price for these please.

  8. Paige

    This is stupid we should be able to skateboard whereever we want!!!

  9. Anonymous

    Man, dont look at a spot, that has skate stoppers, and say “damn. this spot is gone…” say “damn, hey guys! how could we skate this one?”

  10. Felix

    I’ve seen the undulating grass on this site before. It’s not big enough to do anything on, and although there’s no signs I doubt people would feel comfortable sitting on it. The curves do look very nice though.

  11. mealsonwheels

    @ Craig – the three words ‘comercial managing agent’ just spell Wanker. Why not use that for shorthand next time.

  12. m & m

    Skateboarding is NOT a crime! The people that skate in front of your businesses could be selling drugs or tagging it. Why is it that a couple of dollars worth of pointless architecture is so horrible that you take your mind off of all of the other messed up things happening in today’s world. How are those ledges or those banks benefitting your business other than just sitting in front of it making it look pretty? Skating doesn’t tear things up bad enough to where people walk past and say, “Oh my God, would you look at that? It looks like skaters have vandalized this place by riding their skateboards on it. I’m not going into this building.” If you’ve ever walked past a building and thought this, you need help.

  13. Anonymous

    this pisses me off. i know that companies dont want skaters messin up stuff but some of the most original stuff is those banks and hips we should be able to skate it at least like one day a week.

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  15. jerry loves to skate

    fuck all u niggers who hatin on skaters. we just wanna skate somethin. who the fuck cares about ur dumb ass architect. I f u dont want us to skate it then y the fuck did u build it? I t looks fuckin ugly with the skate stoppers. FUCKY YOU GUYS, FUCK COPS ANS SECRUITY GUARDS,FUCK SKATE STOPPERS, FUCK ALL YOU BITCHES!!!!!!!!!

  16. Cinic

    Although a proponent for skateboarding in urban environments, I understand the desire to protect one’s property.

    On the other hand, I’ve seen stair railings with anti-skate spikes and I simply think, who’s going to use it as a railing if it has spikes on it?

    Form must follow function, but we need to first decide what that function is. Reading some articles on this site, I’m wondering if some of the undesired functions are simply evolutions of implementations.

    The anti-homeless bench is a good example. I’ve had to sleep on cold hard floors because of similar designs. I’m not homeless. I was simply passing the time as I had a layover at the airport. I should have been able to adapt the function of the bench to serve as a temporary cot, but I unfortunately can not meld metal, and I was too tired to use my keys as a screwdriver to remove the annoying center armrest. Next time I guess I’ll take a walk to the local town, maybe vandalize some property to cure my boredom.

    My actual alternative to sleeping on rock flooring was watching Fox News. I made my choice, and my lower back paid the price. At least my sanity remained.

    I believe architects should require the community they build in to sign “Terms of Use” contracts if they expect us to follow their rules of greater function. Personally, I find the no-sit rails a secure and functional gripping spot when climbing otherwise flat ledges on building while urbaneering, an alternative pastime to skateboarding for urban youth.

    One man’s blockade is another man’s stepping stool, I guess.

    But enough of it all. The bottom line is, these devices are ugly as hell. Any architect should be ashamed to incorperate these medieval eyesores, unless they were going for hostile as the main motif.

  17. ass licker

    heres one why dont you just give up. kids are going to skate on it or find a way to skate on it regaurdless. why build skateable structures infront of your building in the first place? to tempt kids to skate it? or because it “looks nice”? well tings are built to be interacted with not looked at. so why spend your money on such things? if your that stupid to spend money on skateable structures or even more money on making skateable structures unskateable then your stupid and all your property deserves to be vandilized. Im from america but Ive been on vacation to london and skated there and I ecen walked disappointed around the perimeter of that very building, it was down the road from my hotel. the point is its time for you to move on and learn. also get a life who would put this gay crap online anyway.

  18. flash

    dear retards.
    you have a horrible buisness making something that takes away from one of americas favoriote pastimes. get a life!

  19. putting skate stops up just pisses skaters off and then they vandalize the place

    most skatestops are more unsafe than skating

    we will find a way to skate or just sneak over late and take them off

    skating is americas only originol pastime

    druggies arnt going to hang out if theres a bunch of kids

    nobodys going to throw trash on the ground in front of a bunch of kids

    nobodys going to throw glass bottles around skaters

    skateboards can double as weapons****

  20. tony hawk

    please….skateboarding is all we have! don’t take it away from us low level underachievers.

  21. Anonymous

    Anyone who skates and has read Ocean’s work can see the connection of the public view of skateboarding to a pathogen. I think skateboarders will continue to be a perpetual step ahead. Just as the misuse use of antibiotics has created stronger and more adaptable diseases- the skatestoppers have created more diverse and adaptable skaters.

  22. Anonymous

    go skate a skate park, Losers or better yet pay your bills by skating. yeah right. very few ever achieve that. oh yeah achieve, it means do something with your life. thats right skaters have no life
    Quit your whining and build a skate ramp Losers

  23. Hi im an ex-Skateboarder and i still support and encourage people to skate as i loved it so much myself.

    My advice to this matter is well there is no deterrant.

    I know that prety much any surface or shape can be used to do tricks on.

    So why bother trying to deter offer a bargin e.g. everywhere has a skatepark they just cost to much to get into so for example why doesnt abbey national and other multi million pound companys just team up with some of they skateparks to make the cost of these cheaper to skaters.

    or team up with other troubled companys to creat a street park.

    (example from Cambridge’s Sidgwick Site) – not onlu did they make it look bad but they left the edge unaltered this is the best bit to skate as you can gring 50 – 50 darkslide the edge also the lips on the slabs sticking up is still rideable to a good skater what a messup.

    My point is stop trying to spoil skaters fun because your going to fail just help us

  24. go skate a skate park, Losers or better yet pay your bills by skating. yeah right. very few ever achieve that. oh yeah achieve, it means do something with your life. thats right skaters have no life
    Quit your whining and build a skate ramp Losers

    my reply to the person who wrote this other comment is do u search the web looking for blogs that irelevent to ur life why dnt u go get a life u lame piece of sh**

  25. Anyone who skates and has read Ocean’s work can see the connection of the public view of skateboarding to a pathogen. I think skateboarders will continue to be a perpetual step ahead. Just as the misuse use of antibiotics has created stronger and more adaptable diseases- the skatestoppers have created more diverse and adaptable skaters.

    well said to the person who wrote this i lyk it cwl

  26. tony hawk
    Nov 30th, 2007 at 9:39 pm
    please….skateboarding is all we have! don’t take it away from us low level underachievers.

    well said dude oh yea nice name

    i agree with this


    SKATEBOARDING ISNT A CRIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. phobia skater

    burn the skate blockers and anti skater people!


    sk8 4 lyff

    yes fuck u

  29. Anonymous

    this is a load of crap ledges are our baseball feilds its insulting to walk down the street and have to see these skate stoppers its as if your putting a security system or lock on our spots and almost making us seem like criminals

  30. The Village Idiot

    One thing I’ve never seen mentioned in these ‘teenagers vs. society’ type issues is the fact that the people working inside these buildings or chasing kids away from their ugly, sterile exteriors are (in the most general sense) the parents of the kids who are out there skating, doing BMX tricks, ‘loitering’, or cruising around in circles in parking lots.

    Why is there this implicit separation of the two groups into an ‘us vs. them’ context? When did society’s children become one of society’s biggest nuisances? Was it when they had nothing to do and nowhere to go anymore because everything around them had been paved and fenced and pig-eared? Can we blame them for occasionally vandalizing infrastructure that has all the charm of a cage lined with spikes? Well, of course we can but that doesn’t solve anything and they’ll only come back later when no one’s looking and do something worse to retaliate.

    If skating causes damage, and all kinds of expensive and sturdy ‘solutions’ are being built then why not design and build areas that hold up better against being skated on instead? It can be done without actually encouraging skating (which opens up liability issues) but it would reduce maintenance costs and related hassles and not be so ugly. Frankly, to truly prevent skating just replace ALL the concrete and steel with trees and bushes and grass, which are also much better to look at than pig’s ears. Too expensive? Yeah, I guess alienating our own kids is always going to be cheaper.

    So we can either fund universal birth control or figure out a better way of accommodating all these young nuisances running or skating or cruising around everywhere. Anything else appears doomed to failure (or being hacked).

    BTW: I’ve noticed how much respect and praise figure skaters get, especially the women’s Olympic figure skaters, and it’s certainly justified. However, good skateboarders possess every bit as much balance, skill, coordination, and athleticism as good ice skaters but skateboarders often do their thing on hostile infrastructure, at night, and while being chased by the police (figure skaters just have to watch out for Tonya Harding).

    That’s a level of dedication and commitment adults frequently allege is lacking in ‘today’s young people’. So why not try to channel those uncommon traits productively instead of clamping down and turning them into dedicated, committed anarchists instead? Remember, these kids grow up. And if you still are one of society’s nuisances, knock off the profanity in discussions like this or your opponents feel much more justified in acting against you (plus all your thoughts and opinions are totally disregarded and any respect they might have had for you evaporates so it’s better if you just STFU). Oops, sorry. I’ll go now.

  31. george

    i skate and if i really did own a buisness id rather have some black marks and chips in my ledges then have huge metal plates popping out of my ledges

  32. Anonomous

    Why don’t companies stop focusing on how to stop kids from skateboarding on the property and start focusing on how to make skateboarding do less damage. Maybe they could put some sort of waxy stuff or something on the architecture and when it rains the skate marks come off. Seriously, if I’m only 15 and thinking of this shit before CEO’s or architects do, then there is something wrong with America.

    Keep skating.

  33. David

    Please don’t kill our wounderful sport that brings all culturs and races together no matter what!
    The bond bettwen us all (15million+) is amazing, and if we have nowhere to go but a skatepark the sport will die and skateparks arn’t an excuse to put up no skateboarding sighns.
    Please end this.
    Rid of the stigma!

  34. Facility Manager

    As a former skater I apprecitate the right to skate. However when it comes to property damage, I take issue. Skateboarding is not a crime…absolutely…but property damage is a crime. I have seen beautiful s/s handrails, seatwalls, structural art, etc…permanently damaged by your boards. All these property items are extremely expensive.

    I am currently pricing out deterrents for my building’s seat wall. To me, a building is a work of art and you skaters defile a city’s gallery of architecture.

    Find a park and rip it up but leave our properties alone. When you grow up, get a job, and apprecitate how much money you have cost somebody you might realize how wrong it is to destroy our city scape.

    • Anonymous

      don’t ever call youself a skater. just because you wore the clothes and could roll around doesnt make you a skater. you know now about skateboarding and you are just another ignorant person. I hope your building recieves true property damage like graffiti and ugly looking skatestoppers.

  35. im a die hard skater

    screw you i am going to skate no matter what and what the hell is the point to have spikes on a hand rail and if the point of your queer website is to piss off skaters u did a great job why the hell would u kill amaricas most origanal thing i hope u guys die by falling down a set of stairs and a skater treflips over u and the one of your skate stoppers rips your balls off ….wait theres none there

  36. im a die hard skater

    if u were in a room with osoma bin ladden id and i had a gun and i had to kill one of u i would kill myselfe id be to hard of a disision


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  38. what is your kid doing right now is he smoking crack, doing coke, heroin? if your kid was out skating they could’nt be doing these things. even thou they probably should seeing as it makes life just a little better, so kids go out get your crackpipe and make life FUN!!!!

  39. L.C.

    whilst i appreciate the owners’ want to remain in control, the bottom line is that skateboarders can, will and do continue to thwart any attempt at blocking spots. as a skateboarder living in london, i can say tat the attitude towards skateboarders is at best very hostile. just by being a skateboarder in the city centre i have suffered sometimes violent abuse at the hands of ignorant corporate types and their rent-a-cop lackeys. it sickens me to think that such an energetic, pro-active and community oriented pastime is oppressed and demonised in such a way. having been skateboarding since i was 13 i can honestly say that it is without a doubt the best thing i have ever done. all the friends i’ve made, people i’ve met and things i’ve accomplished through skateboarding is what has made me who i am as a fully functional member of society. i pay my taxes, i have a job. even as an adult i have kept skating in order to keep the scene alive. on a lighter note, i find it amusing, to say the least that even in this current climate, banks can find no more productive and efficient use of their money than to build pretty obstacles and petty distractions, then ruin then aesthetically, physically and environmentally. good day to you, sirs

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