The Boathouse

Small Project

The Boathouse

Project Info

Built using Japanese carpentry techniques and no mechanical fixings, this larch boathouse sits elegantly on the bank of the River Cam.

In order to minimise the environmental impact of the Boathouse, the building’s superstructure is made from English-grown larch and was carefully designed to avoid the use of glue, nails, or other fasteners. Instead, the timber members are notched and grooved, locking together to form a sturdy but flexible structure.

The light-weight walls are formed from removable screens set within the columns and held in place with timber pegs, so that they can be lifted away in summer when the boat is regularly used.

The pagoda-style curved roof is clad in recycled copper and the whole structure sits on a framework of ‘end of life’ scaffold poles hand driven into the riverbed.

The frame was crafted offsite in a carpentry workshop as a kit of relatively small parts that were then able to be self-assembled by the client and friends.


ArchitectAshworth Parkes Architects Ltd

Structural EngineerCambridge Architectural Research

Wood SupplierNational Trust Pentillie Estate

ContractorEnerphase Construction

SpeciesJapanese and Hybrid Larch (UK) - FSC certified

ClientJoel Gustafsson

JoineryCarpenter Oak

PhotographerMatthew Smith Architectural Photography