Roger Williams University is home to an award winning sailing team that for its full history had no facilities for enclosed boat storage, showers meeting space or any area for the students and visitors to watch competitive sailing on Mt. Hope Bay. This project represented an opportunity to not only create a dedicated facility for the sailing team, but also a chance to link Mt. Hope Bay to the university in a new way.
The new sailing center transforms the functional requirements of boat storage and athletic infrastructure into a more expansive experience that celebrates the waterfront and creates access to this resource for the university community. By linking the shoreline and upper campus through the new building, the sailing center is highlighted as a significant component of the RWU athletic community and becomes fully connected into the life of the campus.
By exploiting the existing topography, the existing sloping lawn is connected directly to a rooftop viewing platform with a pedestrian bridge that extends the campus public space onto the new building. This roof-viewing platform is the main public engagement with the sailing center and serves to elevate the waterfront experience by positioning the main public space at the grade elevation of the main campus exterior spaces. This not only celebrates the waterfront, but also provides for direct physical and visual linkage between the sailing activities and the campus.
Lemessurier, VBH Inc, RDK Engineers, Haley and Aldrich