The fisherman on the river all know how an afternoon of watching the river flow can refresh the spirit. River Rooms gives visitors and neighbors a place to sit and contemplate the river— without baiting a hook.



Part of Art @ Bartrams Garden 

With Mural Arts Philadelphia 

Supported by the William Penn Foundation

In concert with Tide Field

Six wooden boat-shaped platforms placed throughout the grounds of Philadelphia’s Bartram’s Garden create a four-season invitation to reflect on the Schuylkill River’s surface and its surroundings.A series of open-air “rooms” designed for contemplation and reflection, River Rooms invites neighbors and visitors alike to pause and spend time along the banks of the Schuylkill. Based on the design of an old rowing boat commonly used on the river, these six wooden structures dot the landscape at Bartram’s Garden and Bartram’s Mile, giving people a destination at the water’s edge. Each room provides different views of the water and offers different ways of interacting with the river in all seasons—one room is designed particularly for fisherman, while others invite people down to the water’s edge or up into Bartram’s grassy meadow. Designed in concert with Tide Field, a tide-responsive floating installation that draws attention to the Schuylkill’s daily tidal changes, River Rooms also creates accessible places for everyone to sit and quietly observe the tides.

Benches for sitting and elegant boat-like rails maintain a feeling of safety near the shores of the river. Some of the rooms have a slight upward slope as if they were coursing over waves in the river.

Sandblasted bluestone “welcome mats” give each room its own character, and introduce some aspect of the river’s life or natural processes: one mat shows the names of each month’s full moon, while others show the river’s fish and diatoms.