As the City of Chicago works to transform the long-polluted and neglected Chicago River into its next recreational frontier, Studio Gang’s WMS Boathouse at Clark Park helps catalyze necessary momentum. By creating a key public access point along the river’s edge, it supports the larger movement toward an ecological and recreational revival of the Chicago River.
The boathouse's design translates the poetic motion and rhythm of rowing into an architectural roof form, providing visual interest while also offering spatial and environmental advantages that allow the boathouse to adapt to Chicago’s distinctive seasonal changes. With structural truss shapes alternating between an inverted “V” and an “M,” the roof achieves a rhythmic modulation that lets in southern light through the building’s upper clerestory. The clerestory glazing warms the floor slab of the structure in winter and ventilates in summer to minimize energy use year-round.
The City of Chicago commissioned Studio Gang to realize two boathouses, with the second facility to be located along the south branch of the Chicago River at 28th and Eleanor Streets. It is scheduled for completion in 2015.