National Contest - Honorable Mention

Columbus Architectural Salvage 2nd Place - Parker Hoar - Bouldering Wall

I designed this bouldering wall in an underserved park in Wilmington, Ohio. My goals were to excite people about the place they live, to help them see value where they saw little before, and to increase the cultural wealth of the entire community based on the assets and practices of the residents themselves.

The wall was previously an abandoned baseball backstop. It is now encased in some of the two miles of conveyor belts we reclaimed from the DHL package-sorting facility that closed five years ago. The painted horizontal strips are woven through the verticals, which go up and over the fence and are bound together by the climbing holds bolted through the system. This element invited public engagement and garnered support from all kinds of organizations and industrious individuals, such as local carpenters, farmers and engineers who assisted with the construction. Climbers—who previously needed to drive two hours to the closest climbing gym—mapped out color-coded routes on the wall for beginners and experts alike.

Repurposing materials made sense financially. We saved money by not purchasing new materials and were able to put money in the hands of people who are trying to invent new applications for materials not typically used in construction. I became familiar with this process from helping to found Reclaiming Heritage, a Berlin-based organization that used reclamation for sensitive post-disaster reconstruction of historic architecture. In those projects, and this one, cultural value was retained through the reused materials.

Many of the park's neighbors worked on the DHL conveyor line before 10,000 of the company's employees were laid off. We engaged these neighbors in several months of design visioning for the project. They liked the idea of reusing the conveyor belting to support healthier life choices and improve a public space where few previously had felt comfortable spending time.

Parker Hoar

Wilmington, Ohio

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