The City of Cambridge Rowing Club is a private club dating back to 1844. The facilities consisted of a boathouse, changing rooms and a small club room. There were limited facilities for changing and club activities, as well as a shortage of space for boat storage.
The site was in a prominent position on the bank of the River Cam, amongst a row of college boathouses. The existing buildings were not suitable for extension or reuse, so the client had decided to demolish these and build a new boathouse.
The site is in a flood zone, so the new design has no vulnerable accommodation on the ground floor which is used solely for boat storage, doubling the capacity of the previous facilities. The first floor contains new changing rooms and club room, and there is a second floor in the attic space which contains the services and gymnasium.
The new facility is constructed on a sloping site, and to avoid infringing the right of light for residential properties to the rear, the building was cut into the slope. Due to the unstable ground conditions, the building had piled foundations that supported a steel frame, enabling the upper floors to be constructed in a lightweight cladding which accelerated the build program and minimised disruption to the neighbouring properties.