Community Rowing Boathouse
Anmahian Winton Architects

July 19, 2012 /

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Photo: arcspace

The Community Rowing Boathouse is located on the banks of the Charles River, at a transition zone between two distinct regions: the rural upper basin, and the suburban middle basin.

The landform projects into the river at a bend, affording up and down-stream views of the river.

The existing boathouses along the river, serving elite academic institutions and private clubs, are either actually old, or mimetic of the old. The design of the Community Boathouse seeks to expand the vocabulary of rowing facilities on the Charles by exploring abstract commonalities between rowing and architecture, and by engaging relevant regional precedents outside the realm of boathouse antecedents.

Photo: arcspace

Photo: arcspace

Photo: arcspace

The unconventional organization of the boats, parallel to the river, is necessary to accommodate the 170+ boats within the constraints of the triangular site.

Photo: arcspace

Photo: arcspace

As a site strategy, the long narrow footprint is divided to engender a public forecourt between the main thoroughfare and the river. The series of operable vents addresses the need for natural light and ventilation in the absence of repetitive doors - a consequence of the linear organization of the boats.

Photo courtesy Anmahian Winton Architects

The patterned louvers mask locker room windows and mechanical vents on the most visible face of the building. The ventilated glass shingles protect the boats while putting them on public display.

Photo courtesy Anmahian Winton Architects

While each type of cladding satisfies functional needs in the building, its experiential effects are more varied. The surface of the building is intended to transform with movement, not unlike the rhythmic punctuations in the fluid medium of the river.

Community Rowing, Inc. (CRI) is one of the largest rowing organizations open to the public in the country, serving some 1500 members. CRI owns and operates 49% of the rowing shells used in the Charles River, and is dedicated to bringing the discipline of rowing to the entire community at all levels of the socioeconomic spectrum.

Drawing courtesy Anmahian Winton ArchitectsSite Plan
Drawing courtesy Anmahian Winton ArchitectsPlans

Facts about Community Rowing Boathouse

Total area:

30,000 square feet

Boat storage:

12,500 square feet


17,500 square feet

Anmahian Winton Architects

Project Team:

Alex Anmahian
Nick Winton
Todd Thiel
Sydney Schremser
Joel Lamere
Makoto Abe
Julia Davis
Aaron Stavert
John Paul Dunn
Garth Goldstein
Andrew Plumb
Mazen Sakr
Munira Fleyfel
Aaron Bruckerhoff

Civil Engineer/ Landscape:


Waterfront Structural Engineer:

Childs Engineering Corp.

Structural Engineer:

Richmond So Engineering

MEP/FP Engineer:

RW Sullivan Inc.

Geothermal System:

Harriman Associates

Sustainable Systems Analyst:

The Green Roundtable

Cladding Systems Fabricators:


Lighting Design:

LAM Partners, Inc.

Envelope Consultants:

Wiss, Janney, Elstner Ass.


Consigli Construction Co.


Community Rowing

Last updated: December 20, 2013

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