Projects » Princeton University

(Project of Architectural Resources Cambridge)

The first University building one sees while approaching Princeton University, the C. Bernard Shea Rowing Center serves as a gateway to the campus. The facility includes the original Class of 1887 Boathouse and the new Richard Ottesen Prentke Training Center. To achieve architectural coherence, the new addition recalls the bay spacing and window clusters of the original building. The addition also features modernized versions of the old boathouse’s buttresses.

The tower is the facility’s entry and focal point. On the second floor, it houses a lofty sky-lit space, featuring mahogany flooring and wainscoting. A gallery, overlooking the lake and featuring historical photographs of crews past, extends to the west, and provides access to shower and locker facilities. The gallery arrives at the renewed club room with lounge seating, trophy cases, and video facilities.

The addition, the Prentke Center, contains workout spaces framed with exposed timber trusses. Mahogany wainscoting protects the walls. Toilets and showers in the Prentke Center allow the workout rooms to double as visitor’s changing rooms. The ground floor includes two boat bays, and the moving-water rowing tank. In the tank, the arched window recalls the arches of the Washington Street Bridge; it frames the rowers, creating a symbolic connection between rowers, lake and bridge.

The new Prentke Center is modern yet resides comfortably with the old Boathouse. The resulting Shea Rowing Center is a bright and refreshing facility that unifies the old and new structures and provides a picturesque view from the bridge that welcomes visitors, faculty, students and alumni to the Princeton Campus.

Peterson Architects also worked with Princeton University to repair the facility following floods in the spring of 2007.

There is a great video of the boathouse available here.

Photography by Nick Wheeler/Wheeler Photographics.