CHICAGO RIVER BOATHOUSES BY STUDIO GANG

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The Clark Park Boathouse is the first of four new boathouses planned along the Chicago River.


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It will accommodate the Chicago Rowing Foundation and rowers from North Park University, along with canoe and kayak with a service of rent.

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As the City of Chicago works to transform the long-polluted and neglected Chicago River into its “next recreational frontier,” Studio Gang’s two boathouses on its north and south sides will help catalyze this movement.

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The northern building features a series of sweeping roof projections and is clad with hundreds of richly-textured slate panels.

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The design for the boathouse structures translates the time-lapse motion of rowing into an architectural roof form.

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The undulating roof is inspired by eadweard muybridge’s famous experimental photographs of the movement of rowing translated into alternating inverted ‘v’ and ‘m’ shaped structural trusses.

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Diffused south light through glazed clerestories serve to ventilate in the summer and warm the floor slab in the winter. Kayak and sculls have been appearing more and more along this stretch.

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In addition to providing visual interest, this form also offers spatial and environmental advantages.

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With structural truss shapes alternating between an inverted “V” and an “M”, the roof achieves a rhythmic modulation that allows southern light into the building’s upper clerestory.

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The clerestory glazing warms the floor slab of the structure in winter and ventilates in summer to minimize energy use year-round.

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Location: Chicago, USA 
Architect: Studio Gang Architects 
Area: 20,000 square foot 
Cost: $7.4 million 
Year: 2013 
Owner: Chicago Park District 
Photo: Kevin Dickert