Oklahoma City, Oklahoma


Rand Elliott, FAIA, drives his white Porsche 911 around Oklahoma City, showing you his major projects, shifting gears, and sweeping through the sprawling landscape so quickly, authoritatively, you begin to understand how important the new Chesapeake Boathouse is to the career of this consummate Oklahoma architect.

Chesapeake Boathouse
Photo © Robert Shimer for Hedrich Blessing

But you first have to ask yourself: What is a boathouse doing in O-K City and, for that matter, who builds boathouses in this day and age? It sounds like some kind of country club folly, a euphemism for a garden shed, or an aluminum-sided marina on the banks of a red dirt reservoir, but rather it turns out to be exactly what you wouldn’t expect in Oklahoma: one of the best facilities for competitive sculling in the country. The nonprofit Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation asked Elliott to design the building on the banks of the Oklahoma River to accommodate an expanding program—the Oklahoma Association for Rowing counts 325 members and growing, while three local universities have implemented programs. The 14,578-square-foot boathouse provides these athletes and hobbyists with meeting space, offices, fitness facilities, and storage for nearly 100 racing shells—sleek, carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic boats in a variety of colors and lengths.

Like most athletes in America, rowers are obsessed with speed. Custom manufacturers optimize the shells like those stored at the Chesapeake Boathouse to within fractions of an inch. An elite single-person racing shell may measure 30 feet long, less than 24 inches wide, and weigh only 30 pounds. They slice through the water so easily, you forget the rower must maintain precise balance to keep the silvery thread of a vehicle from capsizing. Elliott paid close attention to these sorts of details when he began design. Throughout his more than 30 years of practice in the “City,” as everyone in Oklahoma calls it, he has consistently said he begins a project by looking at the culture prevailing at its inception, while also attempting a reading of the intangible qualities conveyed by the site’s physical context. Many architects say this, but not many architects are Rand Elliott.

The Chesapeake Boathouse has little in common with the traditions called to mind by Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River rowers forever in midstroke in a Thomas Eakins canvas. Rather, Elliott addresses the tricky architectural issue of origin head-on: through a deft evocation of our modern fascination with sport and speed, mingled with Oklahoma City’s very real, shared civic desire for reinvention, in lock-step with the city’s larger ambitions to shed its Dust Bowl image.


Elliott + Associates Architects
35 Harrison Avenue
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma  73104
Telephone: 405.232.9554
Fax: 405.232.9997

Project team:
Rand Elliott, FAIA
Brian Fitzsimmons, AIA
Miho Kolliopoulos, AIA
Joseph Williams, AssocAIA

Interior designer:
Elliott + Associates Architects

Civil: Grossman & Keith Engineering

Structural: KFC Engineering

MEP: PSA Consulting Engineers

Smith & Pickel Construction

Landscape:  Elliott + Associates Architects, Oakley’s Inc.  Landscaping, Total Environment Inc. Landscaping

Lighting: Elliott + Associates Architects / Smith Lighting

Other:  Audio Visual – Rob Rogers, Audio/Video Designs, Inc.
Security – PSI (Peripheral Systems, Inc.)

Robert Shimer © Hedrich Blessing
Telephone:    312.491.1101

Joseph Williams, AssocAIA

CAD System, Project Management, Or Other Software Used:
Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2006




Structural system
Steel Building Systems Pre-engineered steel building frame by Alliance Steel Inc.

Metal/glass curtainwall 
Glass:  Kawneer 1600 System 2 Curtainwall

Polycarbonate: Extech Exterior Technologies Inc.- Series 3100 Standing Seam Panel System

EIFS, ACM, or other:   EIFS Soffit - DryVit

Custom Wood Windows: 
Duratherm Window Corporation

Metal:  Alliance Metal Buildings Standin Seam Metal

Aluminum:  Kawneer

Polycarbonate Glazing:  Extech – Womble Co.-Exterior
Polygal- Smith & Pickel-Interior

Glass:  Associated Glass:  Kawneer

Insulated-panel or plastic glazing:  See above

Boat Storage Doors Design: Elliott + Associates Architects with Extech Polycarbonate Cladding

Fabrication:  Associated Glass
Manufacturer – Kawneer, C. R. Lawrence
Hardware – Hager, Yale

Entrances: Associated Glass - Kawneer

Metal doors: Kawneer Storefront

Locksets:  Hager, Yale

Hinges:  Hager

Closers:  Yale

Security devices:  PSI (Peripheral Systems, Inc.)

Interior finishes
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Woodcrafters

Paints and stains: Sherwin Williams

Plastic laminate:  Formica

Special surfacing:  Stainless counters by Keys Stainless and Woodcrafters

Floor and wall tile (cite where used): Showers – Dal-Tile

Resilient flooring: Concrete stain

Carpet: Daltonian

Other:  Trex Composite Decking (exterior) Bomanite

Office furniture:  Millwork work stations

Reception furniture: 

Chairs: Umbra OH Chair

Tables: Vecta – Ballet Table

Other furniture:
Pedestals:  Mayline
Task Chair: Herman Miller – Mirra
Stools:  Kartell, Prince Aha Stools
Restroom storage:  Componibili - Kartell
Desks: Millwork – Contemporary Cabinets
Lockers: Lyons

Original Design by Elliott + Associates Architects/Smith Lighting

Fixtures: Lithonia, Lancet, Hydrell, Paramount & Sportlight
Interior ambient lighting:

Downlights:  Parmate

Task lighting:  Lithonia

Exterior:  Lithonia

Mechanical Contractor:  Harrison-Orr with Carrier Equipment

Sprinkler Contractor: Control Fire

Electrical Contractor: Womack Electric

Plumbing Contractor: Mallet Plumbing

Bathroom fixtures/hardware:
Accessories – Hewi
Showers – Symmons
Lockers – Ltons
Lavatory – Kohler
Toilets, urinals – Toto
Faucets – Moen

Kitchen fixtures/hardware:
Appliances – Whirlpool
Sinks, drinking fountains – Elkay
Faucets – Moen

Fabricators for custom furniture:
Dedications made by: Custom Plastics, Phil & Rick Bewley

Boatracks: Focus Rack Systems

Perforated metal panels:  McNichols

Window covering:   Interior Designers Supply - Lutron & Vimco

Boat Docks:  Zeiss Manufacturing and Connect a Dock

Boat Stage Wall:  Dalmarc Signs, Smith & Pickel Construction