NIKE templo mayor skatepark – luis ponce’s sculpture at the entrance of the skatepark
image © designboom




the NIKE templo mayor skatepark in mexico city is the result of a collaboration by NIKE SB and the mexico city government. this free facility hopes to become a hub for local skaters and is the the first ever street league certified skatepark outside of the united states. designed by california skateparks the templo mayor features aztec influenced graphics and handrails and is also the home to a specially commissioned aztec-style sculpture by mexican artist luis ponce.

the skatepark was designed by california skateparks – (left is the sculpture by luis ponce)
image © california skateparks




templo mayor which means ‘great temple’ in english has a total of 1250 m2, and takes its name and inspiration from one of the main temples of the aztecs in their capital city of tenochtitlan – now mexico city.

the graphics and styling of the skatepark reference aztec art
image © california skateparks




‘in recent years, we have witnessed the evolution of mexican skating and its skaters are now challenging at an international level. the continued growth of the sport was behind our interest to collaborate with the mexico city government and promote skateboarding further among the local community. now the city has a first class location where anyone is welcome and free to practice.’ – mauricio contreras, brand manager for NIKE SB.

local skaters practicing on the NIKE SB templo mayor skatepark
image © designboom




‘the site for this skatepark was challenging because of the inclination of the zone in one direction. this presented a unique challenge, since a good skatepark should be functional in both directions. trees and utilities also presented us with another big challenge especially the pedestrian path that goes straight through the site. we worked very hard to create a design that minimizes the disturbance of vegetation, maintaining safe pedestrian circulation throughout the park and enables the use of the skatepark in both directions.’ – joseph m. ciaglia, founder of california skateparks

image © designboom




‘the skatepark includes elements for all levels and ages. we wanted to make it suitable for all levels of ability but with specific areas that were challenging enough for professionals. our design for the graphics and handrails was influenced by of luis ponce’s sculpture and the local culture. the result is a skatepark that stands up against the best in the world.’ – joseph m. ciaglia, founder of california skateparks

the handrails reference snakes in a style typical of the aztecs
image © designboom

close-up of the handrails and mosaic detailing
image © designboom

the park can be enjoyed by everyone from novice skaters right up to professionals
image © designboom

view of the templo mayor skatepark from the opposite end – looking towards the luis ponce sculpture
image © designboom

the mosaic sculpture by luis ponce at the entrance of the skatepark
image © designboom




when you arrive to the skatepark you are immediately greeted by a large mosaic sculpture designed by luis ponce. the piece references aztec art, in particular the eagle and jaguar warrior regiments from the aztec army.

a plaque explaining the sculpture – the style is the same as information plaques found at archeological sites around mexico




left base – jaguar head – from darkness into light, the parks in mexico have not had the ideal characteristics for skating, thus a root germinates in a cornfield, that leads to the birth of the fifth sun (skatepark) the sun’s movement, ending darkness.

detail of the left foot of the sculpture




right base – the jaguar warriors – who were active at the forefront of military campaigns and needed twelve capture enemies alive to reach the rank of eagle warriors. Like the skater must get dominate most tricks so you can get to a higher level.

detail of the jaguar warriors




the central part of the sculpture is a symbol of the eternal cycle of things, the effort and struggle cyclic equivalent to the eternal recurrence of the tricks that will take place on the skatepark. the center is the sun of the new fire, an icon symbolizing the circular cycle of life and death, the beginning of a new era in national skateboarding. furthermore, in the center is the guiding force behind the regeneration NIKE SB.




the upper area of ​​the part is the climax, when the skaters transform into high level performers. the top of the sculpture represents the uninterrupted ascent from the dark depths of its origin to the luminous summits.




the form of two-headed feathered serpent, the merger of the eagle and the snake symbolize the union of the eternal conflict between opposites, good and evil, light and darkness, order and chaos, the eternal conflict between to do or not to do.




original artwork by luis ponce – used to form the core identity of the NIKE SB templo mayor skatepark