Body and Rock

An exploration into pressing, coalescing, and layering of bodies, rock and architecture.

The project proposes a climber’s hotel and training facility which is sited in a disused quarry in Portland, Dorset. The landscape of cliffs and crags provides an opportunity for an architecture that hugs the cliff mediating between the soft climber’s body and the hard rock face. Where architecture ends and the ‘natural’ cliffs begin becomes non-disenable. An array of morphed climbs allows climbers to train for the real deal. What does it mean to have an artificial cliff that represents and morphs a nearby reality?

The climber’s embodied memory of rock faces – an understanding of space through movement, texture, and specific geometry – is used throughout the work. Furthermore, the climber’s body provides the project with a spatial language.

The act of climbing shifts a largely horizontal usage of space to a vertical one. Ordinarily, the body relates to space through furniture and architectural details such as handrails. The project culminated in the design and manufacture of a dining table/climbing wall/ architectural model that would allow the climber’s body to be used as a design tool whilst questioning the corporeal’s relationship to architecture.

Corporeal Simulation

A dining table/climbing wall/ architectural model allows the designer to use their body as a design tool. This transports them to a faraway site location and becomes a corporeal simulation device.

Horizontal for Dining – Vertical for Climbing

The dining table/climbing wall provides differing affordances for its dual functionality. Sunken coasters for wine glasses become smears for the climber’s foot. A spoon cavity becomes a fingerhold.

Stool/Fingerboard – III

The profile of a hand the impression of the foot and the buttock all coalesce to produce a multifunctional piece of furniture/climbing apparatus that is a stool, foothold and hand hold depending on its orientation.

Body and Rock – 1:50 Short Section

The abandoned quarries typography is morphed and mediated by the architecture to create spaces for the hotel. A restaurant where all the tables become climbing walls, a portalege hotel room and a deep-solo swimming pool can all be seen.

Material Mediation – Forearm Climbing Gear

A reading of two bodies – the rock and the climber – allows for an equal dialogue to emerge. Here, through an assemblage of parts, an attempt is made to enable the non-climber or injured climber to engage with the rock face.

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