Zinc Roof and Wall Panels Add Sense of Movement to Chicago Boathouse Project

The Eleanor Boathouse at Park 571 is the last of four new boathouses and river launches created by the Chicago Park District to reclaim the Chicago River for water-based recreation. Photos: Courtesy Studio Gang, © Tom Harris

The new Eleanor Boathouse at Park 571 in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood creates the opportunity for greater community recreation and environmental stewardship of the Chicago River. Designed by Studio Gang Architects, the 19,000 square-foot facility is the last of four new boathouses and river launches created by the Chicago Park District to reclaim the Chicago River as a major system of parks and water-based recreation.

The unique form of the two-building boathouse reflects the movement of rowing, according to Studio Gang’s founding principal Jeanne Gang. The design, incorporating alternating roof trusses, was influenced by studying the rhythm and motion of rowing. “The Chicago River boathouses are part of a new environmentally friendly vision for the city’s river,” says Gang. “By making the riverfront a destination for recreation, anchored by dynamic sustainable architecture, we hope to catalyze long-term stewardship and support of the river’s remediation.”

The striking design incorporates zinc panels from Rheinzink in both roof and facade applications. Approximately 23,000 square feet of Rheinzink prePATINA blue-grey Double Lock Standing Seam Panels cover the roof of both buildings. An additional 10,000 square feet of the company’s Flat Lock Tiles clad the facade in a diagonal installation.

Zinc panels were also used to clad one of the other four boathouses completed earlier and also designed by Studio Gang Architects. The WMS Boathouse at Clark Park on the northwest side of the city was the second of the new boathouses to open and utilized 7,000 square feet of vertically-oriented Rheinzink Flat-Lock Tiles for the facade.

The unique form of the 19,000 square-foot facility was designed to reflect the movement of rowing. Photos: Courtesy Studio Gang, © Tom Harris

The panels for both projects were fabricated by Rheinzink systems partner Sheet Metal Supply Ltd. (SMS), Mundelein, Illinois. Installation of the panels on the Eleanor Boathouse was done by Bennett & Brosseau, Inc., Romeoville, Illinois.

The panels chosen for the project were the result of an exhaustive search that ruled out more expensive alternatives. “Rheinzink reduced the cost and provided the great diagonal look that Studio Gang wanted,” says Bennett & Brosseau project manager Ryan Broom. “It’s a ‘full zinc’ job with both the facade and the roof and really turned out nice.”

SMS vice president Ben Kweton credits Broom with providing the invitation to become involved in the project. “When Bennett & Brosseau approached us with the value engineering opportunity, we jumped at the chance to provide pricing and to remind the design team of the success of Rheinzink on the earlier boathouse project,” Kweton says.

The design team also opted for a slightly hybrid version of traditional flat lock panels. “The tiles we fabricated had a slight offset at the top to bring the panel overlaps more into plane and to create a slight reveal,” Kweton says.

Broom finds working with zinc rewarding, noting, “It provides a great quality look and allows more architectural detailing than can be done with many other metals.”

TEAM

Architect: Studio Gang Architects, Chicago, www.studiogang.com
Metal Fabricator: Sheet Metal Supply Ltd. (SMS), Mundelein, Illinois, www.sheetmetalsupplyltd.com
Installer: Bennett & Brosseau, Inc., Romeoville, Illinois, www.bennettandbrosseau.com

MATERIALS

Roof Panels: prePATINA blue-grey Double Lock Standing Seam Panels, Rheinzink, www.rheinzink.us
Wall Panels: Flat Lock Tiles, Rheinzink