Eaves-Dropped: Elegant Solutions for Scuppers and Downspouts

Chicago, Illinois / United States of America

Thoughtful detailing of the boathouse's rainwater run-off was critical to achieving the building's crisp aesthetic and sustainable site goals.

The boathouse's exterior form, cladding, drainage mechanisms, and site features together function as the stormwater management system, cleaning and filtering rainwater.

Roof shingles made of slate, a naturally waterproof material, easily conform to the warping geometry, pitched to divert water in various ways.

Hidden scuppers and inscribed downspouts complement the geometry of the building.

The downspouts articulate the folds of the envelope while the scuppers disappear beneath the overhanging roof slates.

In both conditions stormwater is diverted to gravel beds that trace the footprint of the buildings.

From the gravel beds, storm water is sent to the rain gardens, which filter and clean the water before slowly releasing it into the Chicago River.

This elegant yet low-maintenance stormwater management system diverts water from the city's combined sewers, which release contaminants and effluents into the river when maximum capacity has been reached.

Architect of record

Jeanne Gang
Studio Gang Architects
1212 N. Ashland Ave., Ste. 212
Chicago, IL 60622, USA
Phone: 773-384-1212

General contractor

Ken Schaefges
Schaefges Brothers, Inc.
851 Seton Ct.
Wheeling, IL 60090, USA
Phone: 847-537-3330

Consultant 1

Sudhir Singamsethi
Matrix Engineering Corporation
33 W. Jackson Blvd., 4th Floor
Chicago, IL 60604, USA
Phone: 312-427-1200

Consultant 2

Peter Bator
9575 W. Higgins Rd.
Rosemont, IL 60018, USA
Phone: 847-696-4060

Consultant 3

Bill Weaver
303 E. Upper Wacker Dr., #1400
Chicago, IL 60601, USA
Phone: 312-373-7700

Consultant 4

Sachin Anand
dbHMS Design Build Engineering
303 W. Erie St., Ste. 510
Chicago, IL 60654, USA
Phone: 312-915-0557

Consultant 5

Terry Guen
Terry Guen Design Associates, Inc.
714 S. Dearborn St., #5
Chicago, IL 60605, USA
Phone: 312-337-9145

Consultant 6

Mark Cannon
M Cannon Roofing
1238 Remington Rd.
Schaumburg, IL 60173, USA
Phone: 847-519-0698
Not available

Consultant 7

Jim Wendell
Wendell Builders
394 Lincoln Terrace
Buffalo Grove, IL 60089, USA
Phone: 847-459-0084
Not available


Steve Hall
Hedrich Blessing
400 N. Peoria St.
Chicago, IL 60622, USA
Phone: 312-491-1101