Community Rowing Boathouse
Community Rowing Boathouse
Cambridge, Massachusetts  

The Community Rowing Boathouse is located on the banks of the Charles River, at a transition zone between two distinct regions: the rural upper basin, and the suburban middle basin. The landform projects into the river at a bend, affording up and down-stream views of the river.  The existing boathouses along the river, serving elite academic institutions and private clubs, are either actually old, or mimetic of the old. The design of the Community Boathouse seeks to expand the vocabulary of rowing facilities on the Charles by exploring abstract commonalities between rowing and architecture, and by engaging relevant regional precedents outside the realm of boathouse antecedents. The unconventional organization of the boats, parallel to the river, is necessary to accommodate the 170+ boats within the constraints of the triangular site. As a site strategy, the long narrow footprint is divided to engender a public forecourt between the main thoroughfare and the river. The series of operable vents addresses the need for natural light and ventilation in the absence of repetitive doors – a consequence of the linear organization of the boats. The patterned louvers mask locker room windows and mechanical vents on the most visible face of the building. The ventilated glass shingles protect the boats while putting them on public display.  While each type of cladding satisfies functional needs in the building, its experiential effects are more varied. The surface of the building is intended to transform with movement, not unlike the rhythmic punctuations in the fluid medium of the river. Community Rowing, Inc. (CRI) is one of the largest rowing organizations open to the public in the country, serving some 1500 members. CRI owns and operates 49% of the rowing shells used in the Charles River, and is dedicated to bringing the discipline of rowing to the entire community at all levels of the socioeconomic spectrum.  

Media

70 photos and 2 drawings