Boathouse, Bald Eagle State Park

arch 231 individual studio project | 2017
Reggie Aviles, Architecture Lecturer

A new boathouse on the banks of the Foster Joseph Sayers Reservoir would draw attention to the history of the Bald Eagle Valley through its architectural form. The site of the reservoir hosts layers of abandoned roads and railroads, ever-changing settlements, and everlasting natural landmarks. These points of interest create a web of history stitching from one ridge to the next.

Map of valley points of interest, historical changes in reservoir banks, and pre-reservoir satellite imagery

This boathouse proposal would focus the attention of visitors on a few of the valley’s points of interest through its tripartite form. The largest wing featuring rental facilities and a small café faces a historical intersection and agglomeration of buildings which were removed when the reservoir was built. The wing hosting the long exterior dock and office space points toward a gap in the ridge south of Bald Eagle Valley. The central entrance wing frames the point where Bald Eagle Creek used to flow under the dam before it was built.

The three wings are differentiated by material as well as form. The large café wing comprises a few closed, simple rectangles with views at each end. The entrance wing is concrete and funnels stormwater to create a waterfall obscuring its central view during precipitation events. The dock wing is composed of only essential parallel walls and a series of structural beams and columns.

Elevation showing dock wing’s series of structural columns and beams

Process model showing initial ideas about multiple distinct but acute angles