Boathouse by Jay Schairbaum

The Cincinnati Junior Rowing Club Boat House is a storage and training facility in Newport Kentucky located in General James Taylor Park along the banks of the Licking River.  Storage areas include space to keep a range of rowing shells up to 62’ in length along with additional equipment and the training facilities require classrooms, locker rooms, weight training, ergometers, and an interior rowing tank.  At the convergence of the Ohio and Licking Rivers, the site lies within a seasonal flood plane that poses a severe threat to the building.  Further complicating site access is a levee built 200’ from the river’s edge.

Architect: Jay Schairbaum
Location: Newport Kentucky Status: Concept

Considering these circumstances, the Boat House is constructed on the waterside of the levee and lifted above the 50-year flood plane by a rugged concrete plinth that is integrated with a series of pedestrian paths.  This lower level is meant to be flooded and acts as a buffer against rising waters.  During times of low water, the space is able to house canoes, kayaks, and other less valuable boats.  Over time, the concrete will capture the residue of each flood instance and preserve it as a record that shows the patina of age.

Most of the building’s program sets on the plinth, outside of the flood plane.  Primary boat storage and main training areas are wrapped in an intricate louvered facade that responds to solar patterns and vistas from the site.  The wood slats continue uninterrupted around the periphery of the building and twist to achieve varying opacities.  They are also pinched above and below site-lines in deliberate areas to allow for unobstructed glazing.  The effect is mimicked in a north facing saw-tooth roof that allows indirect light into the storage area. Techtonically the framework is emblematic of rowing shells, consisting of planks bent around a fluid hull.  Meanwhile, the wood louvers assume a form that diagrammatically represents the movement of a rowing shell slicing through water.

Jay Schairbaum

Jay Schairbaum is a graduate from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design,Architecture, Art, and Planning with a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture.  His interest in architecture lies in the craft of building, and the simple idea that each new project presents an array of problems to be solved.  A process that includes research and experimentation allows for an architecture that combines imagination with the physical parameters at hand.  Jay has had the opportunity to work in a variety of diverse offices that include Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture in Chicago, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson in San Francisco, and COOKFOX Architecture in New York.

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