Doctoral researcher awarded as “Culture and Creative Driver 2019”

The Stuttgart architect Aline Viola Otte has designed a mobile climbing wall under the Paulinen bridge in Stuttgart, which has won her an award from the German government. The so-called “Boulder Block” came from her research at the University of Stuttgart.

Aline Viola Otte is a real nature lover and a passionate climber. She’s been climbing in her free time for more than ten years. “You get to know a lot of people climbing or bouldering, it transcends people’s backgrounds and everybody learns from everybody else”, says the architect. She has combined her hobby with her research and teaching at the University of Stuttgart. Thus the Boulder Block project was born – a mobile climbing wall covering around 50 square meters. It can be found at the former car park under the Paulinen bridge in Stuttgart city center. With a 35° overhang and a maximum height of three meters, the bouldering wall is suitable for climbers of a wide range of abilities.

 (c) William Veder
Aline Viola Otte (left) awarded as Culture and Creative Driver 2019 in Berlin.

The doctoral researcher at the University of Stuttgart wants to use the project as a way of providing the public with free access to climbing, and create a community and attractive structures in the area. “Commercial bouldering walls take up lots of space, which is why climbing halls are usually outside the cities. The Boulder Block on the other hand brings the sport right into the heart of the city.” For this idea she was awarded with the “Culture and Creative Driver Germany 2019” title last week by the German government. This title is awarded every year to 32 founders or companies from the cultural and creative industries who show courage, commitment and ask themselves what can be done better.

Bouldering is a type of climbing in which climbers jump from rock to rock without the use of ropes or harnesses.

“I’m very happy about the award, and want to use the access to a larger network which comes with it to explain my idea to investors and interested parties”, says Otte. She is already in talks with other cities and municipalities who see Otte’s spatial design project as an example to follow.

 (c) Aline Viola Otte
The Boulder Block can be found under the Paulinen bridge in Stuttgart city center.

The Ulm native studied Architecture at the University of Stuttgart from 2004 to 2009, and after this taught at the Institute for Principles of Modern Architecture (IGmA) for around six years as a member of the academic staff. Here she spent a lot of time concentrating on the interface between architecture and nature. “I’ve always moved on the fringes of architecture. IGmA made this creative way of thinking possible.” She carried out research into building in Alpine areas and environmentally protected areas with the students for example.

As well as the issues of architecture and nature, Otte also takes the physical aspect into consideration: “I’m interested in how I experience space through my body.” She is researching how the physical aspect of experiencing space represents a valuable access to architecture in her ongoing dissertation project on the spatial dimension of the fashionable sport of bouldering.

The Boulder Block has been in Stuttgart since May 2019 and is planned to be a temporary project. “It has been very well received by a wide range of people. For example, in summer a teacher regularly came with children from his class to go bouldering”, says Otte. It has not yet been decided how long it will stay in place. 

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