Facilities for Columbia University Rowing Team

New York, New York

Spring 2015, Comprehensive Design

In Collaboration with Daniela Kolodesh

The Hudson River Boathouse is designed for Columbia University's crew team. The program includes a boat shed, locker rooms, a weight room, an erg machine room, observation deck, green roof, lobby, offices, lounge, and landscape. The project began with an initial physical exploration of the site and its surroundings. The approach onto the site of the boathouse became the main catalyst for our design. The project signifies the site’s surroundings, specifically the existence of edges, nested spaces, and carved pathways, all which make up the environment of the Columbia Boathouse. By defining all three conditions it was made clear that there is parallel between their binary oppositions, therefore, all three conditions exist simultaneously, by definition. This means that each condition inherently has qualities of each other condition. This led to the question of how one can experience all of these conditions simultaneously through space.  


Concept Diagrams


The specific layout of program, the tectonic system, and a closer analysis of the immediate site, led to the form of the Columbia Boathouse. The experience of each space has qualities of an edge, a nested space, and a carved pathway. As one first approaches the site, they are taken between two masses, nested in a space, while still experiencing the horizon of the water, and the elements of the outside. As one moves through the sky bridge, and into the erg room, they are on a carved path, on an edge against the shore, yet also nested between two masses as they move through the corridor.  As one is in the erg room, they sit, nested between a carved path of circulation that disintegrates into the space for the ergs, and are separated from the nested space that makes the weight room by a carved path between the boat sheds.  The existence of all three elements makes up the project, and is further enhanced by the tectonic system, the program, and the circulation.


Exterior Render


Ground Floor Plan


Second Floor Plan


Perspective Section

The building is characterized formally by its cantilevered spaces, as well as an integration of two structural systems. The large cantilevered spaces that occur frequently in the building call for an integrated system of a 2’ floor beam grid, while the lobby and office spaces are supported by a structural rib system. Both areas are supported by tension wires. The building’s foundation consists of frequent 4” solid steel round columns and foundation walls which make up the walls of the boat shed. 


Process Models + Sketches


Structural Diagram (left) Mechanical, Engineering, Plumbing (MEP) Diagram (right)