The secret skateboarding paradise on top of Moscow’s Soviet-era buildings

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The secret skateboarding paradise on top of Moscow's Soviet-era buildings

The secret skateboarding paradise on top of Moscow's Soviet-era buildings

We are in VDNKh, a modernist exhibition centre which opened in 1939, heading to the top of the Moscow pavilion. The structure was designed for the Montreal Expo in 1967 and transported to Moscow a year after. Constructed from a metal carcass and a glass façade, the pavilion is one of the best examples of Soviet modernism in the city. The building was slated for demolition a couple years ago but has, instead, undergone an endless round of renovations. Much of the building is vacant, except for the presence of security guards on the ground level.

Moscow’s landscape is filled with Soviet-era buildings, many of them shuttered after the privatisation programme of the Nineties. Built for the people’s benefit, they are now shut away off from public access, patrolled by security guards, most of whom never dream of exploring the upper floors.

But it is the roof of the Moscow pavilion that brings us here. Because of its concave shape the roof looks like a giant skate ramp. My friends and I want to see if it can perform like one too. []

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