The John MS Lecky UBC Boathouse is a two-storey floating building, surrounded by floating concrete docks for the launching of rowing shells as well as the storage of dragon boats and motorized coach boats. Situated on the Middle Arm of the Fraser River, the building is accessed through a riverside public park following the top of the dyke. This calm stretch of water is ideal for rowing and paddle sports, since it is the only portion of the Fraser River closed to commercial boat traffic. The boathouse is intended to serve as an athletic and social centre for its users, providing a training facility for rowing and paddling programs and a rentable event hall for receptions and conventions. The boathouse represents a critical first step in the revitalization of this underutilized stretch of waterfront at the heart of the Richmond community.
The distinctive form of the boathouse was a deliberate step away from the typology typical of boathouses built in the past century. Rather than drawing inspiration from historical precedents, the design was inspired by elements of the sport of rowing. The curved shapes and repeating modules of the building speak to the rowing motion and to the form of the rowing shell, and the building, like the rowing shell, sits lightly on the water leaving little impact on the surrounding environment.