A steel & timber boathouse
At Bates College in Lewiston, ME, the boathouse stands as an architectural tribute to the fusion of traditional and modern construction methods. Created to provide a large open space for the college’s rowing community, the structure features glulam beams that are uniquely joined using traditional timber joinery techniques. In an era where notching glulams is generally avoided, the engineering team’s deep understanding of timber properties allowed for the incorporation of wood splines to facilitate secure connections.
The project also presented a set of intricate challenges, such as the integration of steel brackets with timber elements. This required a well-coordinated effort to achieve a balanced and secure structure. Adding to the complexity was the inclusion of specially-designed, laterally-adjustable boat racks, allowing for optimal use of space and ease of access.
Through an effective collaboration between engineers, architects, and builders, the Bates College boathouse demonstrates how complex materials and techniques can come together in a harmonious and functional design. This project is an example of our capacity to handle intricacies, deliver on design intent, and meet the expectations of both architects and general contractors.
did you know?
What is glulam?
Glulam is short for “glue laminated”. Glue laminated timbers (GLT) are comprised of layers of lumber glued together with their grain following the length direction of the material.
This is a form of engineered lumber which provides greater flexibility when creating a design at scale. The moisture-resistant adhesive used to bond the layers also provide immense strength to the members and makes for an alternative with the same structural qualities as traditional steel.
Most people prefer the look of this natural material and when responsibly harvested the wood used in its construction becomes a more easily renewable resource.