In 1905 Cudworth Beye, whose family was friends with Wright, requested a design for a boathouse to serve the University of Wisconsin crew team.
Wright, in the height of his Prairie period, responded with a design that was far more abstract than anything that had preceded it. Wright created a beautifully symmetrical structure that featured his first perfectly flat roof. Despite the university students’ failure to raise the necessary funds, Wright would include the Boathouse as the only unbuilt design in his Wasmuth Portfolio published five years later. In 2007, following years of fundraising for the project, Tony Puttnam, a Wright apprentice from 1953-57, was selected to realize the Fontana Boathouse in Buffalo, NY. Now the home of the West Side Rowing Club, Wright’s only boathouse is available for rent as an event space and open for tours.