Until recently, Richmond, the River City, did not possess a major restaurant on the James River. Now with the renovation of a former trolley car power plant, the Boathouse Restaurant celebrates its perch, 50’ above the James River. The dining space is encased in glass on three sides providing commanding views up and down the river with the Richmond skyline as a backdrop.
The installation of an operable glass wall system opens the north and west walls of the dining room to the outdoors. This al fresco feature extends to a covered terrace that is surrounded by a simple transparent glass drink rail. There is nothing like the event that happens when the walls of glass are opened and the interior becomes one with the river.

Event spaces within the restaurant are defined by curving soffits and bars.  Ribbons of lights reflect the energy of the river and variations of color and texture throughout the interior capture the ever changing kaleidoscope of the sun reflecting off the river.
An existing interior brick wall organizes the lobby, restrooms and kitchen and separates them from the bar, main dining room and pizza bar. Rich mahogany with inlay define the lobby and recall another of the building’s historic associations with the Richmond Rowing Club.  The sense of arrival is accentuated when passing through this wall from the constrained lobby into the expansive dining room.  

The design solution was an exercise in capitalizing on the embodied energy and celebrating the James River.


Best Interior Project • 2010
Greater Richmond Association of Commercial Real Estate