10 Boathouses That Take Architecture Over the Edge of Dry Land


© Paul Ott photografiert

© Paul Ott photografiert

Whether lining a river bustling with rowing crews or sitting calmly at the edge of a lake, boathouses have a storied history and an inexplicable romance to match their unusual program. Designed for use as a training facility for elite rowers, a vacationer’s waterfront playgroundshoreline retreat, or even as a historical preservation project, boathouses captivate the imagination as they transcend the limits of the land-form relationship on their site.


© Steve Hall/Hedrich Blessing

© Steve Hall/Hedrich Blessing

Leaving land creates a number of challenges and opportunities for an architect, particularly in creating a stable base for a building on the edge of dry land. As seen in the following collection of contemporary boathouse projects, waterfront structures can tower over the water on piles, float on a buoyant platform, or perch comfortably on the coast and connect to the water with an extended boat ramp. The relationship between a waterfront building and its corresponding body of water encompasses every aspect of a project’s architecture—affecting climate, humidity, noise, light, and particularly the panoramic views out across the water from upper floors and elevated balconies.


© Paul Ott photografiert

© Paul Ott photografiert

To celebrate a summer of cooling off by the water, here’s a collection of 10 newly-constructed or renovated boathouses (and one bonus resort complex) that take amphibious architecture to a new level.

Het Bosch / JagerJanssen architecten + Dreissen Architecten

Amsterdam, The Netherlands


© John Lewis Marshall

© John Lewis Marshall

© John Lewis Marshall

© John Lewis Marshall

WMS Boathouse at Clark Park / Studio Gang

Chicago, IL, USA


© Steve Hall/Hedrich Blessing

© Steve Hall/Hedrich Blessing

© Steve Hall/Hedrich Blessing

© Steve Hall/Hedrich Blessing

Community Rowing Boathouse / Anmahian Winton Architects

Boston, MA, USA


Courtesy of Anmahian Winton Architects

Courtesy of Anmahian Winton Architects

Courtesy of Anmahian Winton Architects

Courtesy of Anmahian Winton Architects

Michael Baker Boathouse / Associated Architects

Worcester, United Kingdom


© Martine Hamilton Knight

© Martine Hamilton Knight

© Martine Hamilton Knight

© Martine Hamilton Knight

Klostergarden Boathouse / Trodahl Arkitekter

Mosterøy, Rennesøy, Norway


© Trodahl Arkitekter / Fredrik Ringe

© Trodahl Arkitekter / Fredrik Ringe

© Trodahl Arkitekter / Fredrik Ringe

© Trodahl Arkitekter / Fredrik Ringe

Boathouse / Cibinel Architecture

Lake of the Woods, Canada


© Jerry Grajewski

© Jerry Grajewski

© Jerry Grajewski

© Jerry Grajewski

Muskoka Boathouse / Christopher Simmonds Architect

Muskoka Lakes, Canada


© Peter Fritz Photography

© Peter Fritz Photography

© Peter Fritz Photography

© Peter Fritz Photography

Modern Boathouse / Weiss Architecture & Urbanism Limited

Parry Sound District, ON, Canada


© Arnaud Marthouret

© Arnaud Marthouret

© Arnaud Marthouret

© Arnaud Marthouret

Boat’s House at Millstätter Lake / MHM architects

Seeboden, Austria


© Paul Ott photografiert

© Paul Ott photografiert

© Paul Ott photografiert

© Paul Ott photografiert

Sports Technification Centre For Rowing And Canoeing Orio / U.T.E. Atristain Begiristain

Orio, Basque Country, Spain


© Jorge Allende

© Jorge Allende

© Jorge Allende

© Jorge Allende

Boat Rooms on the Fuchun River / The Design Institute of Landscape and Architecture China Academy of Art

Mei Cheng Da Dao, Jiande Shi, Hangzhou Shi, Zhejiang Sheng, China


© Aoguan Performance of Architecture

© Aoguan Performance of Architecture

© Aoguan Performance of Architecture

© Aoguan Performance of Architecture

© Aoguan Performance of Architecture

© Aoguan Performance of Architecture

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