A Modern Design with Traditional Ties to the Past

A Modern Design with Traditional Ties to the Past
What happens when builders need to harness the traditional look of a New England landmark, but also want to create a modern design by using durable materials that make a bold and visionary statement? 

The culmination of this unique juxtaposition of aesthetics resulted in the new Canal Dock Boathouse in New Haven, Connecticut.

The Canal Dock Boathouse replaces the historic George Adee Memorial Boathouse, which was built in 1911. That building was dismantled in 2007 to make room for a new bridge across the Quinnipiac river. The new building honors the rich history of the old landmark by incorporating original antique elements salvaged from the old boathouse, including displaying the original front façade behind a modern face of metal and glass. 

“We looked at other materials for the exterior of the building that not only maintained the design intent and vision, but also the quality of building we were trying to achieve. We decided on metal panels.”

- Donna Hall, senior project planner

Architectural Advantages of Insulated Metal Panels
Buildings like the Canal Dock Boathouse are quickly dispelling the notion that insulated metal panels have their limits when it comes to architectural design. Kingspan’s BENCHMARK Designwall panels are perfect for custom designs, offering a variety of finishes and colors. Trimless ends, longitudinal and transverse bends, folded corners and hidden fasteners are just a few of the possibilities that can be incorporated into an aesthetic. And there’s no tradeoff when it comes to performance. 

The 30,000-square foot Canal Dock Boathouse has 1,278 square feet of Kingspan BENCHMARK Designwall 4000 Architectural Wall Panels, and 254 square feet of BENCHMARK Designwall 2000 Architectural Wall Panels, both in Champagne Bronze. Both panels are ideal for large-scale projects, come in a variety of finishes, deliver high R-values and are GREENGUARD Gold Certified.

The boathouse project also utilizes 8,800 square feet of KarrierPanel Barrier Wall. These panels are installed behind the weathered-wood exterior of the building and provide a thermal and weather barrier as part of the building envelope. The KarrierPanels were designed to provide architects with design flexibility, while delivering the high-performance provided by insulated metal panels.

Inside, visitors get a glimpse into the past, as salvaged pieces of the old boathouse have been incorporated into the new design, including the front entrance, a staircase and a fireplace.

Metal Panels Help Make a Building Budget Work
The Canal Dock Boathouse takes inspiration from the traditional design of the old historic boathouse, while utilizing modern, energy-efficient building materials, including Kingspan insulated metal panels. The design team originally considered terracotta for the exterior of the boathouse, but soon realized that insulated metal panels were the superior cost-effective option.

For more information on this project, visit

New Haven, CT 

Nosal Construction 

Kingspan Insulated Panels

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