Run, Jump, Shoot at the Heygate Estate

Parkour runners at the Heygate Estate in London's Elephant and Castle provided the perfect opportunity to bring together architecture and photography. 



Parkour athlete (Chris) from Parkour Generations

Architecture can be used and experienced in a surprising multitude of ways. This  Run, Jump, Shoot  workshop, organised by the RIBA, brought members of the public together to see park our  –   an  urban sport that involves  moving around the city through new and efficient means  – in action  and gave a fresh viewpoint on architecture and photography.

At 66 Portland Place

The first Run , Jump, Shoot  workshop began o n 19 May 2012 in the British Architectural Library at the RIBA with two speakers: Justine Sambrook, RIBA Library Photographs Collection; and photographer Andy Day  ( ).

Justine spoke about the history of architectural photography and highlighted some of the unique images in the RIBA’s collections. Images included those from the short-lived and experimental  Manplan  magazine published from 1969-1970, which was described as the “ high watermark of photojournalism applied to architectural photography ”. During the session, participants handled original photoprints from the  Photographs Collection , normally kept in climate-controlled stores for conservation reasons. Andy spoke about the background to his photography and early involvement with parkour and his work with  Parkour Generations .

At Elephant and Castle

The second half of the day was held offsite at an abandoned housing estate in Elephant and Castle, South London. On arrival, athletes from Parkour Generations took workshop participants to locations around the estate and showed them how this art form involving the movement of the body works with the architectural space around them – a perfect photo opportunity for all those attending the workshop!

Parkour athlete (Chris) from Parkour Generations, Heygate Estate, 2012. © Wilson Yau Parkour athlete (Chris) from Parkour Generations, Heygate Estate, 2012. © Wilson Yau Parkour athlete (Chris) from Parkour Generations, Heygate Estate, 2012. © Elizabeth Grant Parkour athlete (Chris) from Parkour Generations, Heygate Estate, 2012. © Wilson Yau


What made the RIBA’s recent visit to an abandoned housing estate in London’s Elephant and Castle so interesting was to see how this place and the structures in it have been utilised successfully for a different purpose to that planned for by the architects.

The ‘Run, Jump, Shoot’ event provided a new and enthusiastic audience for the activities of   Parkour Generations   who have brought life to a neglected urban site. The agile movement of the parkour athletes amongst the decaying walls, walkways and obstacles were captured on camera by the attendees. From these images the best two have been chosen – one was selected by the RIBA, the other by Parkour Generations. It seems photographic talent may be genetic.

The RIBA’s choice


Winning entry “Like a fly” by Martin Hoy, 2012
Winning entry “Like a fly” by Martin Hoy, 2012

Title: Like a fly 
Photographer: Martin Hoy

“We love the unusual viewpoint of this image and the way that the traceur seems to be climbing down the wall, defying gravity. This works really well with the graffiti on the wall, and the traceur in his green t-shirt really pops out of the frame.”

Justine Sambrook   British Architectural Library, RIBA





Parkour Generations’ choice


Winning entry by Richard Hoy, 2012
Winning entry by Richard Hoy, 2012

Photographer: Richard Hoy

“There are a few interesting aspects to this particular photo that I like. Firstly, the positioning of Steve against the wall at such an exact diagonal angle is quite a new and refreshing photo for me. Not because the fact it’s a ‘flag’ move, but more because it just feels as the right body position captured at the right time to work in harmony with the leading-lines of the walls and buildings. I like the dabble of green colour of the t-shirt against the bland and grey background since it really focuses the viewer to Steve and the Parkour rather than the surroundings. Finally, speaking as a designer, the spacing around the subject is great too. Lots of near-perfect framing and if I were to use this image for website/flyer/marketing it would be superb to utilise the big spaces on the wall for text and graphics. That’s why I like it!”

Andy P 
Parkour Generations