From 2023, a church in Brussels will be transformed into a climbing hall. Located in the municipality of Forest, in the Brussels Region, the Church of St. Anthony of Padua stands proudly with its neo-gothic style and its formidable interior architecture. In an unusual setting, the project aims to offer a new sports structure in a dynamic and lively area of Forest. The hall will offer more than 40 ropes as well as a wall culminating at 22m high.
The hall will accommodate up to 150 people at a time. It will open its doors to the schools of the Saint-Antoine district and to its associations. There will also be a school to teach the youngest how to climb.
The project was initiated by Maniak, a company that already owns climbing gyms in Nivelles and Charleroi. Martin Simon, one of its managers, told Belgian news outlet DHnet that they “embarked on the adventure of opening a climbing gym inside a church. This has already been done in Great Britain. But in Belgium, it is the first one.”
We think it is very important that this center becomes as accessible as possible for the entire municipality.Alain Mugabo, Alderman of Urban Planning
According to the mayor of Forest, Mariam El Hamidine, an agreement has been reached between the church and the company. The latter will be able to install its premises inside the building while paying rent and the cost of renovating the roof. An unexpected but fair compromise which could give a second life (and a form of financial sustainability) to Saint-Antoine de Padua.
A climber from Nivelles and three from Brussels dreamt of a new, modern climbing gym, close to their home, in their neighborhood. They longed for the ideal place to create his new climbing hall. Kyril met the founders of Maniak, Martin & Nicolas; and for his part, Steph pursued his dream and launched the discussions with La Fabrique d’Église in order to transform the church of Saint-Antoine of Padua into a climbing gym. The quartet set about renovating the church, which has not been used for several years.
The opening of the “Maniak Padua” climbing gym is scheduled at the beginning of 2023. On the spot, sportsmen and other indoor climbing novices will be able to find giant climbing panels (up to 20 meters, thanks to the high ceiling of the place), a catering area, a room for group classes (yoga etc.), a fitness room, a sauna and a leisure area for young people.
In order to put the building back in the center of the life of the inhabitants of Brussels, the residents of the municipality will benefit from exclusive rates during the opening of the hall. As for the catholic practitioners, the part reserved for the worship in the church will be preserved and will remain open to the public.