Vertical World Seattle 4.0

Vertical World Seattle 4.0

Seattle, Wash.

Project Description

The last remnant building in Seattle’s Marco Shipyard, VWSea4.0 represents the fourth iteration of the original Vertical World, built in 1987 as the nation’s first indoor climbing gym.

The project entailed renovating a leaky, seismically inadequate and vandalized building entirely open at one end (to move ships in and out) within a budget that barely topped $1.5 million (including climbing equipment). The main-floor design features a welcome desk, a lounge, locker rooms, office and retail space, and storage, as well as the climbing walls, the tallest of which soars to 48 feet. Upper levels include kids’ party rooms, fitness and yoga areas, and a second-floor observation platform.

Heavy timbers once used in ship building were repurposed as the facility’s front desk and benches. Wood reclaimed from weathered pallets covers an existing concrete wall in the lounge area. Existing rusted tin roof panels were augmented with corrugated roofing purposefully corroded using saltwater to create the desired character of mezzanine finishes. Meanwhile, new amenities carry a handmade quality that reflects the facility’s indigenous feel. Restroom sinks incorporate large granite slabs sloping off to a trench drain at the back like water running off granite at one of the local climbing crags.


Project Details

ARCHITECT OF RECORD: Jeffrey J. Hummel Architects P.C.; Seattle, Wash.
Construction Cost: $1.5 million
Square Feet: 16,840
Occupancy: December 2011

Climbing Walls: Elevate Climbing Walls

Skylights: Structures Unlimited Inc.


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