WMS Boathouse at Clark Park

Chicago, Illinois / United States of America


This new Park District boathouse is part of the City's initiative to support the ecological and recreational revival of the Chicago River.

The boat storage and field house programs were divided into two distinct structures forming a portal to the river's edge.

Slate and zinc cladding met the Park District's requirement to build robust masonry buildings while gracefully delineating the building form.

Alternating truss shapes and roof form are translated from the movement of the oar in rowing.

The structure is coordinated with boat rack dimensions. To reduce energy use, the clerestories are used to warm floors slabs in winter and naturally ventilate in summer.

All spanning elements of the structure are linear, but alternating truss geometries create a warped surface that is clad in simple bendable plywood panels.

Inside the field house, year-round rowing accommodates team practice, youth programming, and courses for people with disabilities.

The second floor's ergometer room can double as event space.

After-school mentoring and neighborhood gatherings take place in the community room.

By creating an engaging public building and granting access to the river, the boathouse supports the vitality of Chicago's urban communities and advances important issues of public interest and environmental stewardship.

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
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 Ter.
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