Foster+Partners create a design for a timber boathouse on the Harlem River in New York for non-profit Row New York. The project aims to increase the number of Row New York’s free and low-cost programs that teach young people in under-resourced communities the sport of competitive rowing and also assisting them with their education to prepare them for higher education and a path to college.
The project will co-locate boat storage, fitness, and academic functions in one building on a new site, creating an integrated community space.
The design of the new boathouse resembles the timber row-houses with a simple rectilinear structure made entirely from wood in the 20th century, but its fully accessible. A gentle folding ramp leads from the plaza foregrounds the building to the upper and lower levels of the building.
On the lower level there is an expanded storage for boats, which is created to withstand severe flooding events. The upper level features a large multifunctional hall alongside changing rooms and classrooms for after school programs. The hall leads to a wide terrace on the building’s eastern edge with a view of the river.
A large folding timber canopy over the structure shades the boathouse. Its distinctive timber lattice is a fusion of engineering and design.