Drexel Snapshot: Designing and Building Philly’s First Public Boathouse

IMG_4136During the summer, as part of Drexel’s Engineering Projects in Community Service program, students from Drexel’s College of Engineering worked with students from the community to design and build a public boathouse and a floating dock at Bartram’s Garden National Historic Landmark.

As part of their senior design project for Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, which was advised by Eugenia Victoria Ellis, PhD, an associate professor in the College of Engineering and Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, the students worked with Erik Sundquist, an assistant teaching professor in Westphal College and director of the Hybrid Making Lab, and Abieyuwa Aghayere, PhD, a professor in the College of Engineering, and Richard Weggel, PhD, professor emeritus in the College of Engineering, to develop the structural design.

Drexel students and students from The Workshop School, a Philadelphia-based charter high school focused on hands-on learning, worked together to build a floating dock.

To build the floating dock, the students worked side-by-side with staff from Bartram’s and students from The Workshop School, a Philadelphia charter high school that uses project-based learning to solve real world problems.

For the boathouse, the students designed the multi-use structure by repurposing two shipping containers donated by a Drexel alumnus.

The design was inspired by similar boathouses in Brooklyn, New York: to the north the North Brooklyn Boat Club on Newtown Creek and to south the Sebago Canoe Club which has direct access to Jamaica Bay. The student designers chose a single-gable roof construction to allow for rainwater collection and irrigation for a vegetated roof system which will be installed on top of the container on the south side.

boathouse deliveryStudents from The Challenge Program, a vocational training school for Delaware’s at-risk youth, worked from May to August to construct the boathouse, which is one part of several development projects slated to happen at Bartram’s Garden over the next few years.

The community boathouse is now being used to store canoes, kayaks and row boats that can be used by the public to explore the Schuylkill throughout the fall.

For media inquiries, contact Britt Faulstick, news officer, Drexel University, at bef29@drexel.edu.