Edinburgh International Climbing Arena, Ratho

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I visited the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena, near Ratho at the weekend. I was there for a children’s party in one of the soft play areas, but I couldn’t help wandering around the building to take in the scale and feel of the space, as well as grab a few photos.

It is built in to a disused quarry and was an enormous and ambitious project.

The five story building is a fantastic example of architecture interacting with the surrounding landscape.

The slate floor and stacked wall linings in the atrium are Caithness Slate. The stone from the quarry is dolerite, a quartzite rock that is similar to basalt. The building makes use of the local material, which makes perfect sense and gives the interior the feel of being in, or at least close to, a quarry, even when you are under a steel and glass structure.

The stacked slate wall cladding below is one of my favourite features.

It was designed by APD Architecture. Unfortunately the project was troubled and eventually went into receivership, being taken over by Edinburgh Council but it remains a fantastic building.

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