Foster + Partners reveals a totally timber boathouse on the Harlem River

Foster + Partners
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If you row, row, row your boat gently down the Harlem River, you might end up at a new waterfront structure designed by global firm Foster + Partners.

The boathouse was designed for Row New York, a nonprofit that offers academic programs and rowing classes to young people from low-income families. The 1,600-square-foot, almost-all-wood building in Inwood‘s Sherman Creek Park is meant to evoke the timber-framed boathouses that lined the Harlem River a century ago. A large wooden folding canopy will cantilever over a plaza and terrace on the shore side and provides shade, while the bottom level will be devoted to boat storage.

“In envisioning a design for a boathouse that will serve a diverse population and be a resource to the community at large, I wanted to create a building that was both functional and accessible, but also one that responded to the Hudson River’s long history as a busy transportation hub,” Norman Foster declared in a press release. “This timber boathouse will fit naturally into the landscape of the riverfront and will transform this stretch of the Harlem River into a lively gathering place for people from all communities.”

Foster + Partners is designing the project in association with Brooklyn-based Bade Stageberg Cox (BSC).

The new building will allow Row New York to serve five times as many students and to consolidate all its programming under one roof. There’s a nice looking terrace on the top floor that will give early-rise-rowers a peep at the sun warming the city. (That view is well-deserved for any teen who voluntarily commits to being somewhere at 6 a.m.) Next to the terrace will be a flexible multipurpose space, plus lockers and classrooms. Wide ramps to the upper stories will make the two-story building 100 percent accessible, as well.

Right now, Row New York is raising $35 million for building construction and operating costs.

A press announcement from the organization states that the project will break ground in 2020. It is slated to open in 2022.

The nearly-all-timber boathouse will be covered in winglike awnings. (Courtesy Foster + Partners)
 

The nearly-all-timber boathouse will be covered in winglike awnings. (Courtesy Foster + Partners)

 

A sketch of the boathouse “unfolding.” (Courtesy Foster + Partners)

 

The boathouse as it would appear from the river. (Courtesy Foster + Partners)