Buttress and Manchester Climbing Centre found a happy marriage between the logistics of creating a modern climbing centre, with its towering walls and auxiliary services, and the need to utilise the Grade II* listed church building in a sensitive and imaginative way.
The space is defined by the towering climbing walls which cantilever into the top of the nave void, mimicking the roof structure and providing the climbers with challenging overhangs and diverse routes. The walls and all the auxiliary services, such as the café and shop, are constructed on a steel frame which is entirely independent of the fabric of the church and can, if necessary, be removed in only four weeks to return the church to its original form. This flexible solution allowed us to meet the diverse needs of a complex group of decision makers.
The centre’s success reflects best practice in the re-use of a historic building, with the seemingly incongruous elements of 20 metre high climbing walls and a Grade II* listed high Victorian Gothic church sitting together comfortably.
It has concentrated on conserving and utilising the existing architectural forms and styles whilst adapting to a new use. In doing so, neither the new use nor the existing fabric of the church have been inhibited or overwhelmed by the design response, rather both complement one another to the best effect.
Roses Design Awards 2005: Winner of the Best Conversion of a listed building
MSA Design Awards 2005: Commendation for Manchester Climbing Centre