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27 Jun 2019

Foster + Partners’ New York boathouse will use rowing courses to empower communities
BY Andrew Manns

The new recreational building was commissioned by Row New York – a charity with offices in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan

The new recreational building was commissioned by Row New York – a charity with offices in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan
photo: Foster + Partners

London-based architecture practice Foster + Partners have revealed plans to create a community-centred boathouse and rowing facility in Washington Heights, New York.

Commissioned by competitive rowing charity Row New York, the proposed timber-roofed building will comprise an array of classrooms, event spaces, and outdoor leisure areas – all of which be used for rowing-focused educational programmes.

Using the sport as a facilitator for self-empowerment, the centre will also help its patrons prepare for higher education with courses that emphasise personal discipline and responsibility.

In a statement, the architects said the project – aimed at underprivileged communities – would “give young people a sense of self-confidence and purpose”, showing them a “path to college”.

Speaking on the project, Norman Foster, founder of Foster + Partners, explained: “I wanted to create a building that was both functional and accessible, but also one that responded to the Hudson River’s long history as a busy transportation hub.

“This timber boathouse will fit naturally into the landscape of the riverfront and will transform this stretch of the Harlem River into a lively gathering place for people from all communities.”

According to the Waterfront Alliance, Row New York – which currently boasts locations in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn – has been mulling plans for a new headquarters since 2017.

The future boathouse is expected to bring all of the organisation’s activities under one roof for the first time.



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