norman foster designs timber boathouse for new york non-profit
 

norman foster designs timber boathouse for new york non-profit

foster + partners has drawn up plans for a timber boathouse, which is set to be constructed on the harlem river in new york city. commissioned by row new york, a non-profit organization that supports under-served communities throughout new york city, the project seeks to give young people a sense of self-confidence and purpose. ‘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,’ says norman foster.

norman foster row new york
image © foster + partners (also main image)

 

 

the new harlem boathouse recalls the many timber boathouses that used to populate the banks of the river at the beginning of the 20th century. ‘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,’ explains norman foster, founder and executive chairman of foster + partners. importantly, the expansion will enable row new york to substantially increase its reach, accommodating up to five times as many students — including those with physical and cognitive disabilities.

norman foster row new york
image © norman foster

 

 

made entirely from wood, the simple rectilinear building is fully accessible. a generous plaza foregrounds the building, from where a gentle folding ramp extends to the upper and lower levels of the building. the lower level contains an expanded storage for boats, which is designed to withstand severe flooding events, while the upper level features a large multi-purpose hall alongside changing rooms and classrooms for after school programs. a wide terrace on the building’s eastern edge overlooks the river and frames views of the early morning sunrise.

norman foster row new york
image © norman foster

 

 

the boathouse is shaded by a large folding timber canopy that sails over the structure, cantilevering over the plaza and terrace and providing shelter from the sun. its distinctive timber lattice is a fusion of engineering and design, providing soft, dappled shade to the flexible multipurpose waterfront open space — a landscaped area designed for informal leisure activities as well as community events and performances. the new 1,600 square-feet facility will co-locate boat storage, fitness, and academic functions in one building on a new site, creating an integrated community space that uses rowing as a facilitator for several other social activities — from an outdoor cinema to financial literacy classes.

norman foster row new york
image © norman foster

norman foster row new york
image © norman foster

norman foster row new york
image © norman foster

 

 

project info:

 

architect: foster + partners
client: row new york
location: sherman creek park, harlem river, new york city, NY, USA

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