Form meets function in the new Calgary Climbing Centre, which stands as an expression of Calgary’s climbing community at an important gateway point along the Trans-Canada Highway. Informed by Calgary’s Entranceways guidelines, the design had to stand out as emblematic of the city. The building itself is designed as a rock, imagined as a glacial deposit as a nod to the site’s proximity to the Rocky Mountains. Its West elevation is transformed into a climbing wall, bringing its interior community outside to showcase what the city has to offer. The building’s simple silhouette is designed to mimic those of the barns on the prairies beyond.
The East elevation cladding is translucent and backlit at night, a bright lantern marker for travelers leaving the city towards the Rocky Mountains. To complete its visual theme, the North and South elevations have irregular, punched windows to suggest porous rock. Environmental sustainability in its design reflects the building’s naturalistic themes and includes extensive landscaping, passive cooling, and locally sourced materials. As a sight to see along the highway, the sculptural building stands as an homage to Calgary’s climbing community and the land that supports it.