Büro für Raumsport x THE LÄND.

Based on an interview with Alina Viola Otte, inventor of the boulder blocks.

Drei Männer stehen vor einer Kletterwand und schauen einem Mann beim klettern zu.

Award-winning venture for the creation of excellent bouldering and climbing areas in THE LÄND

Whether you choose to chill in the Schlosspark or throw yourselves into the hustle and bustle of Königstraße – there are all sorts of different places to hang out with friends in our federal state capital Stuttgart. For the experienced boulderer Aline Viola Otte, however, “hanging out” has a completely different meaning.

“Climbing without a climbing rope” is how bouldering can best be described. The LÄND offers both natural rock faces and around 40 climbing and bouldering halls for you to conquer – and since 2019, it is also possible in Stuttgart’s city centre. That is when the architect Aline Viola Otte invented the “boulderblöckle”, as she calls the mobile bouldering block, for a competition run by the town council – the world’s first compact and mobile bouldering facility for urban spaces. A project that brings the professional and private passions of this young power woman together: architecture and climbing.

“The need was there [...] and so the idea was born to sell our climbing facility to the cities and municipalities.”

The idea behind the “boulderblöckle” is to transform monotone, unused surfaces into attractive urban spaces for everyone, and thus to make climbing accessible centrally, and free of charge. The founder rapidly won two awards for her concept: the “creative pilot” award of the federal government, and Baden-Württemberg’s own state prize “IDEENSTARK”, an award for creative entrepreneurs from THE LÄND.

The requirements for the first climbing block were that it had to be small, functional and robust. And attractive – both for experienced climbing fans and for newcomers to the sport. Otte rose to the challenge, defying all uncertainty about her success.

One thing was sure: with her idea, she was breaking new ground in urban planning. Successfully, as it emerged a short time later.

“We had the town council and the association behind us, who said: Come on, we’ll back you. [...] And that’s the only reason we succeeded.”

During the implementation, she benefited from the support of Stuttgart City Council and funding from the non-profit association “Stadtlücken e.V.”, which brought her to the discussion table with all the relevant offices. This was an advantage that paid off immediately for Otte. Because thanks to the accelerated processing of her applications, there were fewer hurdles to take before she could produce the first prototype. With the support of regional maintenance companies and with great personal commitment, she was able to produce the first “boulderblöckle” within a year – the climbing facility at Österreichischer Platz in Stuttgart.

“I would give the state of Baden-Württemberg a prize for its openness to all sorts of ideas. [...] For its open-mindedness when it comes to innovation.”

Meanwhile, requests for Otte’s street furniture come predominantly from municipalities. Her next goal is a placement at the Federal Garden Show. Anyone who would like to test this mobile rock face “Made in THE LÄND” in advance can currently do so in Stuttgart, Singen, Tübingen and Kirchheim unter Teck. You are of course welcome to share and post photos and contributions on social media while you are there, because the fans of the “boulderblöckle” are the founder’s biggest motivation.

“Everything here on the Swabian Alb is one big, fantastic dream.“

In return for you sharing your posts, she shares her best tip for leisure time beyond her own climbing centre: The Swabian Alb. This range of hills takes up a good quarter of the area of the state of Baden-Württemberg and some of it is protected by UNESCO. “It’s a plateau that offers everything, right on Stuttgart’s doorstep. It is so beautiful”, she enthuses. And in Ms Otte’s view, it’s a great place to go cycling, hiking, or simply to relax in nature. A wonderful contrast to urban living in the state capital.

Ein Imker arbeitet an einem Bienenkasten.