Students Create Boathouse Designs – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Students Create Boathouse Designs

This semester, students taking ARCS 400, “Advanced Design Studio,” have been invited to apply their design talents to a boathouse and dock project proposed by the Seneca Yacht Club for its expanding Junior Sailing program.

Nine students have worked throughout the semester on various planning phases to develop schematic design concepts for the Seneca Sailing Academy Boathouse Complex, which includes plans for boat storage, an indoor activity space and a central area that connects through paths and docks to the water’s edge.

“This is a great opportunity for students to work for a real client on a real site with the potential for their ideas to be realized in the future,” says Assistant Professor of Architectural Studies Jeffrey Blankenship, who teaches ARCS 400 and is guiding the students’ work. “If this project works out well it will be another example of how HWS students can contribute in substantial ways to the larger Geneva community.” 

The students involved in the project are: Jennifer Galezo ’14, Scott Greenbaum ’14, Kelly Haley ’15, Libby Hughes ’14, Andrew King ’14, Joellen Mauch ’15, Andrew Thompson ’14, Emily Vollo ’14 and Lincoln Young ’14. Throughout the project, Associate Professor of Art and Architecture Stan Mathews and Assistant Professor of Architectural Studies Gabriella D’Angelo have also provided additional critique for the students’ work.

“ARCS 400 is an elective advanced design studio course and we thought this project provided a good chance to test the waters of designing a fully operable building,” Blankenship says.

Blankenship says the project kicked off with a site visit and initial meeting with an advisory board for the boathouse complex that will review the schematic designs – detailed building concepts – proposed by students. Before working on their latest designs, students also prepared precedents of other boathouse designs and conducted an initial site analysis. In recent weeks, the students have been developing schematic designs.

The students unveiled their schematic designs during a presentation night with the Advisory Board at Houghton House this week. The meeting was an opportunity for students to get feedback on their initial ideas. Following the meeting, the project was narrowed to one or two schematic designs. At the end of the semester, the advisory board anticipates using the final designs for fundraising and community awareness.

“As a non-professional liberal arts program in architectural studies, our students spend most of their time learning the basics of design process, usually through a succession of abstract explorations,” Blankenship says.

Blankenship says the current project is the most complex design problem that the students will face during the program because of the multiple factors that must be addressed in the design. He says that much of the early part of the course was dedicated to the basics of building design and getting feedback on how to address inherent design problems.

“The students have made very good progress and there will be much to discuss with the advisory board,” Blankenship says. “After this meeting, we will likely begin working on a final design with the full class working more like a team in an office to provide a developed building and site proposal that the board will use for fundraising.”

Hughes, an architectural studies major with a studio art minor, says the project has been the perfect chance to use the skills she’s learned during her studies over the past four years. She says her involvement is also particularly exciting for her because she has been involved with sailing for most of her life and is a certified sailing instructor.

Throughout the process, Hughes says she has learned a lot about time management and is developing skills that allow for the client to see the whole picture and visualize the building in its spot.

“It is excellent practice working with the yacht club board on this project because once we graduate and think about getting a job in this field, we must learn how to balance necessities with luxuries, and how understand how we can generate luxuries that lie within a specific set of guidelines,” Hughes says. “It is very difficult to do and is especially easy to get caught up in the logistics of a creation. The real challenge is putting your own design into something that has all of the basic needs of the client.” 

In the photo above, Emily Vollo ’14 talks with Assistant Professor of Architectural Studies Jeffrey Blankenship.