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Old 07-06-2008, 08:39 PM   #1
PaulC
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Community Rowing Boathouse

new Community Rowing Boathouse on the Charles River

Community Rowing:
http://www.communityrowing.org/

images:
http://www.communityrowing.org/boathouse.htm#images

architect:
http://www.anmahian-winton.com/


Boston Globe 7/6/08:
http://www.boston.com/news/local/art...ed_for_public/

Quote:
Up the Charles River from the Esplanade and Harvard University, almost to the Newton city line, what may be the most expensive public boathouse in the country is under construction.

Graphic Upper Charles Rowing clubs
Built to house the narrow sleek shells that ply the river from dawn till dusk, it will cost $15.6 million, much of it raised through private contributions from wealthy donors.

No expense has been spared. The main building will boast a deep orange exterior made from specially treated wood imported from Barcelona. A classroom and function room will overlook the river. A separate boat storage shed, if you can call it that, is being crafted of steel and glass and specially designed to showcase the bright colored shells that cost as much as $10,000 each.

Even in a city of students, wealthy colleges, and some of the best-known regattas in the country, the new public boathouse is larger and costlier than any other on the river.

"It's iconic," Community Rowing executive director Bruce Smith said recently of the group's project. "And it's for the public. We want to make it open, as open as possible to everyone."

Yet while Brighton-based Community Rowing Inc. has set out to dispel the image of rowing as a pastime of prep schoolers and Ivy Leaguers, its new boathouse has become an elite monument to the sport. Benefactors have raised $13.2 million for the project so far, including several anonymous million-dollar contributions.

Earlier this month, the state also stepped in to offer Community Rowing $4.1 million in low-interest loans, saving the group thousands of dollars in interest and allowing it to pay contractors.

State Senator Mark C. Montigny questioned why a project with such well-heeled backing needs state help at all.

"I would hardly say rowing is high on the priority list" for the state, the Democrat from New Bedford said in a recent telephone interview. Especially for a group that "thinks rowing is the best thing since golf."

Officials at MassDevelopment, the agency that brokered the loans, said it approved the project because Community Rowing offers programs to the public, low-income children, and people with disabilities. The boathouse's location on the Upper Charles means amateur rowers are a safe distance from the college rowing teams. An individual from the general public can join Community Rowing for $400 a year, receiving lessons and unlimited access to the boathouse and its fleet of shells.

That's very different from the dozen private boathouses that line the river. Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, Northeastern, and other college boathouses exist for students and alumni. Buckingham Browne & Nichols, a private K-12 school, keeps its boathouse fenced off to the public. Exclusive boating venues like the Cambridge Boat Club, which sponsors the annual Head of the Charles regatta, offer membership by invitation only, and charge hefty initiation fees and dues.

Jane Morse, Community Rowing board president, said that without Community Rowing, she would have never learned to row. She took up the sport 10 years ago at age 55.

"Rowing a single [scull] feels to me what a dragonfly must feel like," she said recently. "You're just skimming along the water."

Yet for all the pleasures of the sport, it has a relatively small following. Currently only about 250,000 people in the country row regularly, according to Rower's Almanac, compared with the millions who jog or play tennis. Community Rowing serves 1,200 people yearly.

For decades, it operated in the shadow of the river's other boating programs, storing its sculls and shells in a cramped corner of the Daly skating rink. When the state took steps to privatize the rink in 1997, Community Rowing began a campaign to fund a new boathouse. It was a success, except with several colleges that had been a part of the program for years.

Alyson Magian, Community Rowing's former executive director, said Wellesley College as well as Brandeis and Lesley universities have not helped fund the project. Original plans had to be scaled back by half because they have not chipped in. Currently, only Boston College has agreed to use the new boathouse, donating $2.5 million toward its construction.

"They had a great deal," Magian said of the colleges that left. "It came to a crashing end when the rink went away."

College officials at Wellesley and Lesley confirmed that they were no longer housing their boating programs out of Community Rowing facilities, but declined to comment further. Bill Doncaster, a spokesman for Lesley, said the college hasn't ruled out rejoining Community Rowing.

"We've been approached" by Community Rowing about donating, he said. "We've had conversations but have made no decisions yet."

The new boathouse is 80 percent complete and expected to open next month. Its design is modern and boxy, with two large 42-foot garage-style doors on either end for boats. Its ochre-hued exterior will be made from wood treated with Bakelite, a translucent resin. Boston architect Alex Anmahian said he designed the building with repetitive louvers and scalloped shapes to imitate the motion of a boat. The $1.4 million design plan won a Progressive Architecture Award this year from Architect magazine.

The new boathouse is bigger and more expensive than one of the most recent constructed on the river. Northeastern University's boathouse, built in 1989, cost $2.5 million.

Margaret Van Deusen, a lawyer at the Charles River Watershed Association, a group that monitors development along the river, said she was concerned that displaced colleges would want to build additional boathouses on the Charles. She said the organization supported the Community Rowing project in part because it could consolidate several rowing programs.

"We don't want to fill up the entire bank of the Charles with private rowing facilities," she said. The new boathouse is big, visible from the water and Cambridge and from the westbound lanes of the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Charlie Zechel, executive director of Community Boating Inc., a public sailing facility on the Esplanade, said the scale of the project stunned him. His group operates in a modest boathouse and has been struggling to get state funding for much-needed dock repairs.

"Look at all that money," Zechel said of the new boathouse. "I have to say, I'm absolutely jealous they have got [such] a community of donors. I'm just blown away by it."
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Old 07-06-2008, 08:48 PM   #2
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Re: Community Rowing Boathouse

Because the current boathouse by the Hatch Shell is just so unbearably close and heavily used by the unwanted and unwashed masses.
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Old 07-07-2008, 01:18 PM   #3
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Re: Community Rowing Boathouse

^That one's for sailing.
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Old 07-07-2008, 05:56 PM   #4
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Re: Community Rowing Boathouse

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurker View Post
Because the current boathouse by the Hatch Shell is just so unbearably close and heavily used by the unwanted and unwashed masses.
You get the award for most elitist comment of the month
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Old 07-07-2008, 06:05 PM   #5
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Re: Community Rowing Boathouse

I'm pretty sure that was sarcasm.
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Old 07-07-2008, 06:51 PM   #6
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Re: Community Rowing Boathouse

Yes that was sarcasm...
After survival training involving getting kicked out of a Mi-8 and forced to tread water for several hours, I can't say I'm a big fan of water.

I don't mind cool boathouses, but I do have a problem with city money going to this project. So many other parks and civic facilities are in such a state of disrepair, it is a travesty that so much money is going to a facility which will benefit a (relatively affluent who could afford other non public facilities) few.
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Old 07-07-2008, 07:15 PM   #7
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Re: Community Rowing Boathouse

Thanks for posting this, PaulC.

Some renderings from the site:





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Old 12-28-2009, 07:18 PM   #8
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Re: Community Rowing Boathouse

Quote:
Boathouse wins architects? award
http://www.boston.com/ae/celebrity/a...omes_benjamin/

The Community Rowing Boathouse on the banks of the Charles River in Brighton has been named the ?most beautiful?? new building in the Boston area, according to the Boston Society of Architects. The group awarded this year?s Harleston Parker Medal to the boathouse (below), which was designed by Cambridge architects Alex Anmahian and Nick Winton. Anmahian and Winton - who are also responsible for Cambridge 1 restaurant in Harvard Square - designed the Harry Parker Community Rowing facility to have outer walls that resemble huge Venetian blinds, which open to let fresh air flow through to ventilate and dry the shells inside. Sounds beautiful, right? Anmahian tells us that when he and Winton envisioned the boathouse, they didn?t consider that it might become the city?s most beautiful new structure. ?We feel pretty tickled,?? he said. ?And we feel pretty honored because we feel we?re in good company,?? he said, referring to past winners of the award, which include the New England Holocaust Memorial, Shad Hall at Harvard Business School, and the John Hancock Tower. Anmahian said that he and his partner felt lucky to design the boathouse. ?They don?t get built very frequently and they?re always in sensitive places - on a river.??
Can't say I'm really surprised about this winning (was there any real competition?)...



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Old 12-28-2009, 07:53 PM   #9
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Re: Community Rowing Boathouse

Did they also design the (relatively) new library in North Allston that I believe won the same award some years back?

This building is a better version of that. The wavy wood is quite inspired.
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Old 12-28-2009, 08:06 PM   #10
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Re: Community Rowing Boathouse

The wavy wood looks phenomenal when driving by on the highway.
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Old 12-28-2009, 08:10 PM   #11
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Re: Community Rowing Boathouse

I wasn't aware of this project... thanks for posting pics.
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Old 12-28-2009, 08:11 PM   #12
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Re: Community Rowing Boathouse

Quote:
Originally Posted by czsz View Post
Did they also design the (relatively) new library in North Allston that I believe won the same award some years back?

This building is a better version of that. The wavy wood is quite inspired.
This one? http://www.machado-silvetti.com/proj...ston/index.php
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Old 12-29-2009, 04:38 AM   #13
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Re: Community Rowing Boathouse

Yeah, that's the one. I guess it wasn't them.
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Old 05-10-2010, 05:21 AM   #14
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Re: Community Rowing Boathouse

I was reading the New Republic online and was pleasantly surprised to see this building featured in an architectural review piece. <== slide show

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Old 05-10-2010, 09:44 AM   #15
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Re: Community Rowing Boathouse

Man, how are they gonna lump the MIT boathouse in with the rest of them?
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:55 AM   #16
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Re: Community Rowing Boathouse

A beautiful building, but at $400/SF it should be.
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Old 05-10-2010, 07:21 PM   #17
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Re: Community Rowing Boathouse

Did the land values play any small part in that cost? I mean, the building itself, while a beautiful design, isn't all that complex. Did the architects really charge ridiculously high design fees?
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Old 11-28-2010, 02:54 PM   #18
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Re: Community Rowing Boathouse

9/19:















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Old 11-29-2010, 08:40 AM   #19
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Re: Community Rowing Boathouse

i think this building, and those pictures, is stunning.
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Old 11-29-2010, 02:35 PM   #20
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Re: Community Rowing Boathouse

Totally awesome. Where is this?
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