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

By Andrew Manns    27 Jun 2019
The new recreational building was commissioned by Row New York – a charity with offices in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan / Foster + Partners
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
– Norman Foster

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.

The boathouse will be situated on the Harlem River, within Sherman Creek Park / Foster + Partners
Foster + Partners  Norman Foster  boathouse  Harlem  New York 
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