Collision Climbing Commons

  • Caption
    Depiction of Area in Use (Vantage Point A)
Related people
Samuel Haugh (designer)
Allison Dennis (designer)
Halina Steiner (studio professor)
Parker Sutton (studio professor)
Autumn 2018
North and Central America->United States->Ohio->Cleveland->Collision Bend
This was a student project by Samuel Haugh and Allison Dennis for Halina Steiner and Parker Sutton's LARCH 3940 course in Autumn 2018.
""Given our site’s somewhat unique topography, our design seeks to take advantage of this sharp change in elevation by creating a recreational space for climbing and exploration. Additionally we hope to create a viable habitat for a number of freshwater fish species as the conditions of the Cuyahoga have changed dramatically from its natural state. Through the addition of these programmatic elements, we seek to forge a more intimate relationship between the people of the city and their land.
Our project’s composition is centered around a highly formalized center that gradually begins to naturalize with a more organic form near the boundaries. Sections of the bulkhead are removed, creating cuts in the land where more natural edge conditions can take root. Sections of the bulkheads are preserved the form of islands, which help maintain the Cuyahoga’s dredged riverbed while providing points of interest. The pre-existing power plant is then converted into a climbing gym called “the Collision Climbing Center” featuring indoor and outdoor climbing for all seasons, along with an observation deck on it’s extremely tall smokestack. A stepped terrace complete with seating, shade, and interesting sight lines hug the building, along with a series of rain gardens for filtration of runoff water. A switchback leading from the top of the site to the bottom provides ADA access while being combined with a modular playscape. This consists of a series of gently sloping concrete faces with obstacles that run up the side of the hill, providing alternative options to how people traverse the site. Radiating from the center are a series of drumlines with bouldering walls, creating a feeling of enclosure and privacy, reminiscent of a canyon. In the south, hills are constructed using backfill, and planted with a datum of trees, creating an industrial forest.
Given the site’s relatively isolated condition, one of the main challenges is to get people to the the Commons and stitch collision bend back into the fabric of the city. We identified 3 potential pedestrian access points. The first consists of extending a pre-existing bridge onto our site, connecting pedestrians from the Cleveland’s Stadium district to pass over the RTA rail line that divorces the river from downtown. The second would be a series of stairs and crosswalks that connect the iconic Tower City Shopping center to the river’s edge. And lastly there could be a connection to the new Erie Canal Towpath that lies across the river, using a defunct rail bridge.
To help start a healthy fish community, we created the fish pyramid, a square pyramid cast in reinforced concrete or steel. Singular units can be fitted with a netting to provide shelter for prey fish, and dropped into the water at any angle, with its legs resembling the form of a fallen tree. The module serves as shelter for fish, while creating a surface for vegetation growth, and habitat for other aquatic animals. Multiple units can be attached on their side faces creating a starbase form, which serves the same function as the singular unit but on a larger scale. The module can also be used as structure for the boardwalks, which stitch the islands together, and can also be used as simple play structures that can be climbed. As for the fish we are providing habitat for the gizzard shad, walleye, and channel catfish, which are prey, predator, and scavenger respectively. The gizzard shad tends to stick in shallower waters while the walleye and channel catfish prefer deeper and more open water spaces. The manipulation of topography provides a variety of edge conditions and depths, which accommodates for our fish species’ preferences . We also hope to promote a more diverse ecology above the water by planting more native grass and meadow species while designating the western edge of our design as a riparian zone, while creating a more forested area in the south. This industrial forest has stands of multiple tree species, planted in areas that best suit their growth.
As for the human program, climbing is a sport, growing in popularity, notable for promoting a healthy lifestyle, creating a sense of adventure, and is inherently a social activity. Cleveland however does not have climbing gym or any developed crags nearby that can support more advanced forms of climbing, or an inviting space to encourage newcomers to the sport. With the pre-existing power plant and the site’s high concrete retaining walls, there is a lot of verticality to be taken advantage of. Using precedents like the Druisberg Nord project, our design turns a dated industrial landscape into an active one where people directly interact with the land. This project supports multiple rope and lead walls, bouldering walls both inside and outside, modular playscapes and gentle rolling hills and even ice climbing in the winter, making for a fun experience for both the experts, to beginners climbing in their tennis shoes.
Our site is pretty unique, but its current state is highly engineered and impermeable, obliterating whatever natural conditions that existed pre-industrialization. Our project seeks to bring back some of the natural habitats while transforming a dead industrial landscape into one that people actively participate in. ""
Landscape Architecture
LARCH 3940
Academic Class