Text description provided by the architects. The Harleston Parker Medal is awarded each year to “the single most beautiful building or other structure” built in the metropolitan Boston area built in the past 10 years. Anmahian Winton has achieved this with its innovative and sustainable design for the Community Rowing boathouse in its first year of eligibility.
Since opening last year, the CRI project has enjoyed an unprecedented level of public interest and acclaim largely due to its innovative design. The building has had an immediate impact on the mission, image, and visibility of CRI. Membership in CRI has doubled since the building opened, and the project has reinvigorated a neglected stretch of public land as an active public park for an underserved urban neighborhood. The Executive Director reports that both the staff and membership feel that they are making a positive contribution to the riverfront and the city of Boston.
The design of CRI seeks to expand the vocabulary of rowing facilities on the Charles River by exploring abstract commonalities between rowing and architecture, and by engaging relevant regional precedents outside the realm of boathouse antecedents, such as tobacco barns and covered bridges.
As a site strategy, a long narrow footprint is divided to engender a public court that establishes both a visual connection to the riverfront, as well as a functional connection to the boathouse: a public invitation to the Charles River and CRI.
Enhanced occupant comfort and a significant reduction in energy consumption are achieved by the natural light and ventilation coming into the building through louvers, bi-folding operable vents, and glass shingles. While each type of cladding satisfies functional needs, their experiential effects are more varied: The surface of the building is intended to transform with one’s movement around the building, not unlike the rhythmic punctuations in the fluid medium of the river.
Robert Campbell, FAIA wrote in the Boston Globe, "the architecture of the exuberant new Community Rowing Boathouse in Brighton is such a joy. This is a building that is happy to look, fresh, new, democratic and up-to-date... This is one of the best new pieces of architecture in Boston."