The River's Edge
Jacob Ward -- Interior Design, 9/1/2005 12:00:00 AM
If Central Park is New York's lungs, an oxygenating respite from the concrete grid, the Hudson River is about to become the city's circulatory system—carrying average joes in canoes and kayaks. "The city is connecting to the water again," says Dattner Architects principal Daniel Heuberger, who just completed a public boathouse at the end of West 57th Street.
Heuberger sees his boathouse, the first of three to be built along the promenade stretching up from Battery Park, as today's equivalent of 19th-century riverside bathhouses, the last building type to connect everyday New Yorkers with the Hudson. His version inserts a luminous wedge into the vertical skyline. Clerestories fill the angled space beneath the slanted roof, while siding of corrugated zinc clads the rest of the exterior.
Sliding panels and roll-up doors allow easy access for shoulder-carried canoes and kayaks, and the plywood interior is designed to withstand punishment from thousands of scraping hulls: The facility holds 130 nonmotorized boats ranging from 16-foot kayaks to 45-foot outriggers, all available for free after a 30-minute lesson.
In addition, the 4,700-square-foot space houses administrative offices, showers, and room for onshore classes on rowing and paddling.