'Rise is a climbing wall and social space in Newham, London.'

It is fitting that the Olympic borough of Newham gained its first climbing centre the same summer that the sport first appeared at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Rise aspires to become the social hub of climbing in Newham.

An ideal shared by IDK and the client was to minimise the unnecessary use of materials wherever possible. Exposed timber studwork, galvanised steel and concrete create a raw, stripped-back materiality which celebrates the original self-built “cellar” climbing gyms of the early 1990s. However, it’s also one of the few climbing centres with underfloor heating throughout and a carefully integrated natural ventilation system which tempers the environment to the specific needs of climbers.

A carefully designed suite of mezzanines ensures bouldering activities are visible from all parts of the climbing centre. Large glazed windows reveal the climbing activities taking place inside to passers-by. Wherever possible, the impressive architectural shell has been left unfinished, instead placing budgetary and visual emphasis on carefully designed interventions, the most notable of which is the sculptural joinery of the climbing wall itself.

Our design combines the stripped back aesthetic of the Sheffield climbing cellars with carefully chosen interventions which accommodate the ways modern bouldering centres are used for sport, work and socialising all in the course of a day.

Rise specialises in a type of climbing called bouldering, which consists of climbing “problems” laid out on a wall up to 4.5m in height, below which are safety mats. Bouldering is as much of a mental challenge as a physical one and encourages interaction, collaboration and problem solving. Bouldering walls are highly sociable spaces where people often work and socialise outside of their climbing activities.

In the past few years indoor climbing has experienced an explosion in popularity and is one of the UK’s fastest growing sports. In 2019, regular participation in climbing grew by 22% in the UK, which is four times faster than the wider fitness industry. There are now 1.4 million people climbing in the UK every year.

Rise aspires to become the social hub of climbing in Newham.
Sector: Sport
Location: Newham, London
Services: Feasibility and Interior Design, RIBA stage 0-5
Date : 2020-(ongoing)
Photography: IDK