Urban-Think Tank’s Vertical Gym is a prefabricated kit of parts, adaptable to any locale. The base of the structure is superimposed upon an existing community basketball court, soccer field, or vacant lot, transforming it into a multi-level sports complex that can accommodate hundreds of people at a time. In this way the design maximizes the potential of any city space, particularly areas with a dense urban fabric.
U-TT’s Vertical Gym prototype serves as a safe haven for children and whole communities community. In neighborhoods constantly caught in the crossfire of gang wars and other forms of violence, the Vertical Gym is as a safe space for exercise and social interaction. U-TT believes that engaging in exercise and social activity is a right of all citizens in the city, no matter their social and economic backgrounds.
Given the dire need for such facilities in low income neighborhoods and informal settlements around the world, U-TT wishes to partner with municipal governments, private business, industry, and community organizations that are interested in bringing a vertical gym to their respective cities.
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Urban-Think Tank is an interdisciplinary design practice dedicated to high-level research and design in a variety of subjects concerned with contemporary architecture and urbanism.
The philosophy of U-TT is to deliver innovative yet practical solutions through the combined skills of architects, civil engineers, environmental planners, landscape architects, and communication specialists. In 1993, Alfredo Brillembourg founded U-TT in Caracas, Venezuela, and in 1998, Hubert Klumpner joined as co-director. Since 2007, Brillembourg and Klumpner have taught at Columbia University, where they founded the Sustainable Living Urban Model Laboratory (S.L.U.M. Lab), and since July 2010, they hold the Chair for Architecture and Urban Design at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zürich. Their work concerns both theoretical and practical applications within architecture and urban planning. Working in global contexts, U-TT aims to create bridges between First World industry and developing, informal urban areas. U-TT is focused on the education and development of a new generation of professionals, who will transform cities in the 21st century.
Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner have been awarded the 2010 Ralph Erskine Award from the Swedish Association of Architects for their innovation in architecture and urban design with regard to social, ecological and aesthetic aspects. Urban-Think Tank has also been awarded the Silver Global Holcim Award for Sustainable Construction (2012) and the Gold Latin America Holcim Award (2011) for their Centro de Acçao Social por Música, in Paraisópolis, São Paulo. In 2012 U-TT was awarded the Golden Lion for the Best Project of the Common Ground exhibition at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia, for their “Torre David/Gran Horizonte” installation, produced in collaboration with Justin McGuirk and Iwan Baan.
Operating with offices in Caracas, São Paulo, New York, and Zürich, U-TT is positioned to serve clients and work on projects all over the world.