Chicago Rowing Club – PROGRAM CHANGE

It has come to our attention that the scale of the boat storage bay may be larger than anticipated, and as such we would like to alter the space program.

If you would like, your boat storage program may be adjusted to the following (+\- 10%):

Singles: 28

Doubles: 10

Quads: 6

Eights: 6

Kayaks: 25


Chicago Architecture Biennial 2017

The 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial opens this week. The core exhibits at the Chicago Cultural Center will officially open on Saturday, but there are many events throughout this opening week (including some ‘partner events’ at other venues) that you are highly encouraged to attend. Start planning your CAB must-sees now!

Check the CAB calendar for details on upcoming Biennial and partner events



The City is preparing to build a new boathouse to add to the growing network of facilities along the lake and river.  While public/private partnerships are being explored, sites are being vetted and the potential building use program developed.  

Just as our lake and river have come to define the City, the uses for each are constantly changing as are the roles they play (or may play) in our everyday lives.  A new boathouse offers the potential to further develop the role these bodies of water have to shape our city into the future, and as architects we can find countless design opportunities in those potentials.

This primary phase of development of the new boathouse is to develop design AGENDA  for the facility.  These AGENDA, or ideas, must be developed through drawing and modeling processes that you are to administer and control.  In this way, AGENDA isn’t synonymous with your desire. AGENDA generates criteria and values and as such, greater agency than mere desire. Translate your intuitions and hunches into analytical processes.

– understand methods of site analysis and investigation
– develop new methods for documenting a site
– create strategies for site analysis  through drawing
– use models to interrogate and understand programmatic use and operation
– compare precedent operation at past similar facilities to develop new potentials
– control a process for evaluating site and program

Develop a focused set of potential design AGENDA that will guide and shape the design for the new Chicago Rowing Club – communicated via a series of investigative and projective artifacts. This set should clarify potential conditions of ADDRESS and OPERATION that are fertile territory for development of the boathouse.



Part  1. What are possible agendas for ADDRESS?
Working in teams of two, graphically explore the interwoven set of opportunities and challenges of the site area. How do the sections and intersections of…

  • Access (entries, egresses, connectivity, public/private launching)
  • Transit (modes and routes)
  • History (current and future narratives)
  • Infrastructure (edges, boundaries, impediments, connections)
  • Body to Boat to Water (extending the sequence from phase 1:armature)
  • Sun and Wind (seasonal changes, directional possibilities)
  • Grade and Topography (ascents and descents, sitelines)

… imply or influence possible siting, trajectories, and specific areas of operation of a boathouse?

ADDRESS deliverables (Due Monday, September 18th):
Minimum of two (2)  20” x 20” mixed media drawings of various scales that represent your exploration of the site and clarifying potential design agendas.  These drawings should explore the process of research analysis and establish a set of projective values (that is, an agenda).


Part  2. What are possible agendas for OPERATION?
Working in the same group/pair, develop a minimum of four physical models (mixed media, thick with content) that explore the interwoven set of opportunities and challenges of a boathouse program. How do the operational components of…

  • The program outline for the Chicago Rowing Club
  • The programmatic or conceptual agendas of a variety of precedent references

… imply or influence possible arrangements, frictions, and specific qualities of a boathouse?

OPERATION deliverables (Due Monday, September 25th):
Minimum of four (4) physical mixed media models.  A mix of various scales and ‘scaleless’ diagrammatic models, roughly 10” x 10” x ~10”. These models should explore the process of research analysis and establish a set of projective values (agendas). Derive these agendas  from an exploration of the Chicago Rowing Club programmatic framework and the use program of various precedents (see attached ‘additional resources’ below for details).

resources (click for PDFs):
1. Chicago Rowing Club Framework PROGRAM
2. Boathouse/Rowing Club PRECEDENTS