Neal Robinson – Crew Boathouse on the Huron River

This course focuses on the social and physical contexts in which we build, how people perceive the built environment in relationship to existing circumstances, and how outdoor spaces relate to built forms. The work to be undertaken includes both analysis of existing examples and synthesis incorporating the many dimensions of architectural environments in design. The course explores these ideas through the design of a building of modest scale and complexity. This course will focus on developing the following skill sets:

  • Students will learn how to understand existing topographic conditions and how to propose alterations (cut / fill) that contribute to the design of a site and a building’s relationship.
  • Students will learn how to analyze environmental conditions (light, climate, water levels along the edge of a river) and will demonstrate this understanding in a building proposal that provides natural light, seasonal flexibility of climate controlled spaces and sensitive siting along a river’s edge.
  • Students will learn how to study examples of similar buildings relative to how each example is sited, programmatically organized, spatially organized and constructed.
  • Students will learn how to develop design proposals with a given program (rowing center / crew boathouse) and will demonstrate this understanding at three scales in drawing form.

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Student Work

Jessica Yu – “Bandemer Sound”

Sited as a respite on the edge of the Huron River, this project hopes to amplify the seasonal ambiance and accoustic quality of a spa-like rowing facilty. Separated into centrifugal floors, the upper level is a serene escape for crew members to relax both body and mind and recover from the hard work of training that occurs on the floor below.

Also on the ground floor is an accessible outdoor cafe and an inside, but open to the air above, acoustic lounge. Sun, snow and the occassional fog bank are held in this central void. A wood-clad boat repair bay fronts the water and a thick-walled locker space attempts to shied the parking and railway noise.

Tyler Jensen – “Open Row”

Sheltered by a over-sized pleated roof, large earthen walls help stage open-air community “rooms” in which to study the art of rowing.
Areas for boat repair, boat storage, group coaching, exercise and classrom learning are discrete from one another but part of a cohesive visual sequence. Discrete but familiar materials (earth, wood, rock) call out the sterotomic grounding of the proposal and a thinner, dramatically cantilevered roof allies with temporality and lightness. Formally, each programmatic “arm” of the project rotates to transition from the land-based access to parking and main street trails, toward the more ambiguous water’s edge. A “dip” in the roof allows the passage of cyclist along the river.

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