Austin Bouldering Project Brings a Friendly Industrial Climbing Gym to Texas
Even before crowds of Texans began wrapping their fingers around the brightly colored climbing holds, the Austin Bouldering Project by Dylan Johnson Associates Architects and Lilianne Steckel Interior Design was a hands-on operation. Putting her own muscle into the project, Steckel painted turquoise numbers on the lockers in her quest to create a “welcoming industrial” look on a budget. Meanwhile, owner Zach Olschwanger and his staff built furniture.
Friendly turquoise and yellow pop throughout the climbing facility, conventional gym, and yoga studio, which all share 50,000 square feet in a building formerly occupied by a produce-processing plant. In the showers, sunflower-yellow ceramic tiles in a herringbone pattern look as if they’re climbing a wall, too. Benches are painted that same color.
On the industrial side, C-channel steel from the plant’s storage racks has been repurposed for a check-in kiosk and the mezzanine lounge’s balustrade and table bases. For a touch of nature, red oak appears in the form of paneling, stadium seating, and the reception desk. And don’t forget about art: a graffiti-inspired mural placing the Austin Bouldering Project on an abstract world map.
“Climbing gyms are known for being grungy,” Olschwanger says. “But I think the design-minded people in Austin really appreciate what we did here.”