River and Rowing Museum

We called in rather briefly on the River and Rowing Museum on the banks of the Thames in Henley as an early project by David Chipperfield (it opened in 1998).   As a building, it’s worn well:  a modern version of a traditional barn form, built out of oak.   It’s odd to think that it’s one of a relatively small number of projects which he did in the UK in the 1990s at the height of the lottery boom:-

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4 thoughts on “River and Rowing Museum

  1. Sandra Rowlands says:

    As an admirer of your blog I was pleased to chance upon you today at the River and Rowing Museum , of which we are very proud here in Henley .

  2. Sandra Rowlands is right to be proud. This museum showed David Chipperfield’s brilliance at a time when he was receiving very few commissions in this country despite his growing reputation in Europe. Other architects such as Richard Rogers recognised his great talent but nevertheless he struggled here. The River and Rowing Museum showed his brilliance, pitching the museum over the river which reflects light up through the galleries, and inverting the hull of a boat as the shape of the building : a beautiful image.

    • Dear Mark, Very nice description of its characteristics. It’s interesting that he was able to win the biggest architectural competition in Germany in 1997, but not the competition for Tate Modern. Maybe we’ll learn some of the answers in Alan Yentob’s programme about him on Tuesday. Charles

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