Mesa Rim

2018 Commercial Citation Award Winner

MBA Architects

Mesa Rim Climbing and Fitness in Reno is the proud achievement of a collaborative team comprised of Mesa Rim ownership, Architect and Interior Designer, Contractor, climbing wall designer and fabricator and a team of assorted subcontractors. The design and form of this unique building was driven by three main factors: function, cost, and the desire to create a building that would attract and welcome the climbing and fitness community. The building program included a fitness gym, yoga, locker rooms, offices, retail space, a community lounge, and climbing walls that exceeded 50 feet. The footprint and volume required to support the program was most feasibly and economically built using prefabricated metal building construction. However, the owner’s desire for a more modern building is atypical of most prefabricated metal buildings. Mesa Rim challenged our design team to elevate and reimagine what a prefabricated metal building could be and what it could look like.

Our design approach began with breaking up the overall mass of the building into a high volume that contains the rope climbing walls, and a lower volume that houses the shorter bouldering walls, retail, fitness, and other support spaces. Those two volumes were then skewed into parallelograms to exaggerate the angles in the overall form and distorts the visual perspective of the building. Metal siding on the large volume was articulated into vertical bands of varying widths and colors and refers to geologic striations. The green, perforated metal-clad prow on the southwest corner also alludes to the rock formations we used as inspiration in our design and serves as a beacon to the climbing community. A long vertical window on the south side was nicknamed the “crack”. This window creates a transition between the exterior materials and also provides a visual connection to the climbing activity inside.

The “crack” along with Solatubes on the roof and another smaller “crack” window on the north side bring natural daylight into the ropes climbing area.

To encourage interaction and promote a sense of community, many spaces were created for people to congregate, engage, and observe. A large plaza at the entry includes bike parking, bench seating, and planters. People gather at the concrete steps behind the reception area to rest, have a conversation, and watch other climbers. A free-standing “top-out” boulder has large steps for descending the boulder and also acts as a form of stadium seating for climbing competitions. The lounge on the mezzanine level overlooks the entire climbing area, offering optimal spectating and a bird’s eye view for customers using the cardio equipment located on the edge of the mezzanine. The lounge is also adjacent to an outdoor terrace on the south side that provides stunning views towards Mt. Rose and the Sierra Mountains. The lounge and outdoor terrace could also be used for a variety of community fundraisers and events.