Community Rowing Boathouse | Anmahian Winton Architects

After 20 years in an open-air ice hockey rink, Community Rowing Inc., a nonprofit rowing club, relocated to a 30,000 square-foot boathouse on the banks of the Charles River. Sitting at the intersection of the river, an urban park system, bike paths, pedestrian routes, and local roads, the boathouse it provides storage space for more than 170 boats, a boat-repair shop, training rooms, locker rooms, a classroom, administrative spaces, and a community meeting room.

The facility’s long, narrow footprint was divided into a main building and a small-boat storage bay to maintain a visual connection to the riverfront. The design explores abstract commonalities between rowing and architecture, and it borrows some of the vocabulary of relevant regional precedents, such as tobacco barns and covered bridges.

The main-building envelope consists of large-scale aluminum frames and high-density composite panels with natural wood veneer that accommodate varying natural-ventilation requirements. The same cladding material was used as louvers to mask locker-room windows and mechanical vents, and to provide shading on the south side of the building. The small-boat storage bay is clad in glass shingles, which both protect and display the boats within. Through different types of cladding, building surfaces also offer different experiences with the sun’s movement during the day.

In addition to natural ventilation, a green roof was used to reduce air-conditioning costs (and winter heating loads). The boathouse also features a geothermal well and a robust water-management system including a subterranean 15,000-gallon tank that stores excess rainwater for boat rinsing, site irrigation, and gray-water uses.

Additional Credits

  • Contractor: Consigli Construction Co., Inc.
  • Engineer - MEP: RW Sullivan, Inc.
  • Engineer - Structural: RSE Associates, Inc.
  • Engineer - Waterfront Structural: Childs Engineering Corp.
  • Envelope Consultant: Richard Keleher Architect; Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates
  • Fabricator: Extech
  • Geothermal System: Harriman Associates
  • Landscape Architect/Engineer - Civil: Stantec
  • Lighting Design: LAM Partners, Inc.
  • Sustainable Systems Analyst: The Green Roundtable

Photo Credit

    © Peter Vanderwarker; Jane Messinger/Anmahian Winton Architects

Community Rowing Boathouse

Jury Comments

This building is beautiful not just in aesthetics, but also in operability.

The design purpose is clearly conveyed by borrowing from the nomenclature of oars and regattas.

Simply done, clean, clear design concept, beautiful siting, and well done from a sustainability standpoint. The moves are limited but impactful, and the result is calm but interesting.

The natural ventilation strategy animates the building skin; it is dramatic and well conceived.

2014 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture Jury

  • Scott Wolf, FAIA (Chair)
  • The Miller Hull Partnership LLP
  • Seattle
  • Natalye Appel, FAIA
  • Natalye Appel + Associates Architects
  • Houston
  • Mary Brush, AIA
  • Brush Architects, LLC
  • Chicago
  • Joy Coleman, AIA
  • Treanor Architects
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • Robert M. Hon
  • AIAS Student Representative
  • Savannah
  • Brenda A. Levin, FAIA
  • Levin & Associates Architects
  • Los Angeles
  • Michael J. Mills, FAIA
  • Mills + Schnoering Architects, LLC
  • Princeton, New Jersey
  • G. Martin Moeller, Assoc. AIA
  • National Building Museum
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Ed Soltero, AIA
  • Office of the University Architect - Arizona State University
  • Tempe, Arizona

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