Michelle Wardle

Ba(Hons) Architecture DipArch MArch SMSTS CSCS PASMA CWA 

Having started out my career as an Architectural Designer, working and studying around the world including the UK, Australia and Oman, I have worked on projects ranging from high profile planning appeals to significant multi-million pound tenders. Some of my roles over 3 years in practice included a secondment to Oman working on a 5* hotel and multi-use development, a research post working in the university virtual reality lab in Australia and part of the team winning the 5 million pound Swindon UTC redevelopment in the UK. 

Travels around the world led to me learning how to rock climb in Australia in 2006, spending the next year, whilst on a university exchange program, climbing only on outdoor rock and at night due to the heat. At first I learnt to climb with no shoes, due to the fact that I first turned up in hiking boots not having a clue about climbing. Regardless of the unusual situation, I loved it! 

 

By 2014 rock climbing had become a big part of my life, leading me to follow my passion and transfer my architectural skills and climbing experience into the rock climbing industry, working as designer and then lead designer and project manager for a UK based climbing wall manufacturer.

 

During my time there I achieved design awards for innovation with concrete in climbing structures and runner up in an international design competition for a rock climbing and skate park. Amongst other projects I also completed complex refurbishments, travelled to Bulgaria to sculpt polystyrene formers for a bespoke climbable sculpture, and worked on ground works for difficult sites dealing with everything from buried ordnance to capped landfills. The role included not only the design work but also tender applications and work on a variety of sites, both managing and sculpting.    

 

Moving on in February 2017 I set up my own design practice to provide clients with bespoke climbing structure and gym designs. I realised that with more competition in the climbing market elements such as brand identity, bespoke image and even better climbing and ancillary facilities are required to stay ahead of the game. The gym identity not only comes from the climbing wall itself but from the feel and design of the whole centre, the ultimate aim being a truly holistic approach where the architectural design, interior design and climbing wall are designed together.  

So far this year I have worked on a variety of inspiring climbing projects around the world which are now being constructed, and have a number of new projects on the way, from refurbishments to dramatic competition walls to outdoor boulders. 

I continue to work on producing unique designs for clients, and am driven by extracting the vision, ideas, motivations and inspirations, and translating them into a real image and tangible reality. It's highly rewarding and i'm truly motivated by creating fantastic climbing experiences. 

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