Posted on: 27th February 2023


The Japanese-inspired boathouse is one of 14 projects shortlisted for the RIBA East award.  A regional jury will review the shortlist of 14 buildings and winning projects will be announced in the spring.

The Boathouse, designed by Ashworth Parkes Architects, was inspired by the traditional Japanese temples and ceremonial buildings and there was a very deliberate intention to maintain the spirit of Japanese framing.

The client was conscious of wanting to build it as sustainably as possible so chose English larch as the main material.⁠

They also didn’t want to include any mechanical fixings in the frame. This was done by using intricate jointing methods that don’t need any screws or nails in the frame – all joints are secured with either drawn round pegs or square pegs in round holes.⁠

To fix the boarding to the roof rafters of the frame the team used wooden nails (which are compressed and resin beech and are driven in by an air gun) and therefore further avoided the use of mechanical fixings and glue.⁠

Carpenter Oak crafted the frame for this unique building at our Devon yard and installed it in its setting by the river Cam in December 2021.

Photography: Matthew Smith