The focal point of the exhibition ZONE, organised by MU in the summer of 2001, was the interrelation between the culture of skateboarding, art and architecture. Part of the exhibition was a maquette of a large wooden skate bowl, designed by 20 students of the faculty of Architectural Engineering of the TU/e under supervision of the architect Marc Maurer. Inspired by the New York skater Jocko Weyland, who had been appointed as a guest lecturer, the students came up with a design which not only looked splendid, but which in terms of 'skateability' would also be a dream come true for any skater.
The initiative of MU to actually realise the bowl was received with great enthusiasm by the Eindhoven skaters, the TU/e and the city council, which expressed its appreciation by granting a subsidy. MU and the Eindhoven city council eventually found a suitable location for the bowl and the skate park: an old hangar on the premises of the former airport Welschap in the new residential area Meerhoven. Construction firm Bulsink was prepared to construct the bowl and Maurer United Architects were asked by the TU/e to supervise the progress of the construction. The skaters themselves founded the Stichting Skateboard Events Eindhoven (SSEE)/ Foundation Skateboard Events Eindhoven in order to manage and exploit their own Skatepark Area 51 for a period of two years.
Measuring about 22 x 22 metres with a depth of 3 metres, the MU BOWL will be the largest wooden skate bowl in Europe. Skatebowling or skatepooling originated in the seventies in California, USA, when skaters started skating in the empty swimming pools in the back gardens of deserted villas. The shape of these swimming pools appeared to be ideal to put the optimum speed and high level of accomplishment of the skater to the test. Skatebowling or skatepooling requires quite different skills from those involved in street skating or ramp skating.
The opening of the MU BOWL and Skatepark AREA 51 will take place at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 20, 2002 in the Hangar, Zandkasteel 75 in Eindhoven (Meerhoven). During the opening DJ Richie and the Samplism DJs will play records and there will be demos by various Dutch and American skaters.