The notoriously polluted Chicago River just received a major facelift thanks to Studio Gang Architects’ recently completed WMS Boathouse at Clark Park. Located in northwest Chicago, the state-of-the-art rowing facility is one of the latest developments expected to transform the riverfront into the city's "next recreational frontier." Topped by a distinctive sawtooth roof and exposed trusses, the boathouse derives its architectural form from the rhythmic motion of sweep rowing.
Developed as part of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel‘s initiative to revitalize the riverfront, the WMS Boathouse at Clark Park is one of four proposed boathouses and the first of the two new boathouses designed and constructed by Studio Gang Architects. The 22,620 square foot, two story-tall facility is currently home to the Chicago Rowing Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that provides the community with year-round sweep rowing resources and other recreational activities.
A catalyst for the cleanup and recovery of the Chicago River, the WMS boathouse also boasts passive solar strategies such as the design of a south-facing clerestory glazing that minimizes energy use. The Clark Park facility houses a training center, boat storage facility, a floating launch dock, as well as office and communal spaces.
SGA’s second boathouse will be located along the river’s south branch and is scheduled for completion in 2015.
Images via Steve Hall © Hedrich Blessing