Monthly Archives: May 2013

Tennis History Lives on in Newport

Tennis History Lives on in Newport

Everyone knows that Rhode Island is the smallest sate in the union in terms of size but in the world of tennis we have historically stood very tall indeed.  Newport, Rhode Island is the site of one of the oldest existing tennis clubs in the United States: the Newport Casino, located on Bellevue Avenue.  Designed by the firm McKim, Mead & White, this building was the very first structure completed by the firm after they hired the young creative Stanford White to become their designer in 1879. More

Louis Kahn/ “My Architect”

Louis Kahn/ “My Architect”

Newport is blessed with many beautiful and important structures which were built between the mid-seventeenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries.  There have even been some great additions to the architectural fabric of Newport in the last few decades but during the middle of the twentieth century, the quality of architecture created on Aquidneck Island was generally pretty poor.  To see the best examples of work that was being created in America during that period it is necessary to cross a bridge or two. More

“Planning for a Healthier City”

“Planning for a Healthier City”

In 2010 the City Council pledged to make Newport a “Complete Streets” community and this largely unheralded event has slowly been changing the way public projects are designed.  Complete Streets is a principle developed by the Smart Growth planning movement, and states that roadways and sidewalks should be designed with “all users in mind – including bicyclists, public transportation, vehicles and riders, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.” This is a part of the larger Smart Growth goal to integrate housing, work and shopping into compact development areas that maxmize the efficiency of land use and minimize the amount of vehicular traffic needed to make the community function well. More

Urban Theatres

Urban Theatres

Once upon a time, to see a musical performance, a play or a movie, one had to convene with other people in a large building called a theatre. Now, with the rapid advance of technology, we can get our information and entertainment on televisions, computers, smart phones and even (like Dick Tracy) on wristwatches. But what we have gained in speed and convenience perhaps we have lost in a sense of community and shared purpose. In Washington Square in Newport, we have two grand buildings from the Golden Age of theatre —The Jane Pickens Theatre (JPT) and the Opera House. While these institutions have been greatly challenged by the changing nature of how Americans get the information and entertainment, both have been working hard to transform themselves into organizations that are relevant, important and connected to the way we live today (and will live in the future). More

Redwood Library

Redwood Library

One of Newport’s most venerable buildings is the Redwood Library. This structure is home to the nation’s oldest circulating library still in its original building. Its creation was a product of the Philosophical Club, a group of leading local business men in the early part of the eighteenth century who gathered around the famous Bishop Berkeley, a colonial era religious leader and thinker. The group wished to establish a circulating library for use by its members and a place where they could meet and discuss issues of the day. The Library was founded in 1747 by 46 local businessmen. The two primary donors to the effort were Henry Collins, who provided the land at what was then the edge of the town settlement, and Abraham Redwood, who provided a generous sum to help acquire books for the new institution. More

Codman, Wharton Subject of Symposium

Codman, Wharton Subject of Symposium

The fourth annual Newport Architectural Symposium, which was held here last Saturday, focused on the creative interaction between the noted American author Edith Warton and architect and designer Ogden Codman.  These two artistic giants began their careers in Newport, where Codman designed the interior of Land’s End, Wharton’s home on Ledge Road. More

The Ballroom at Marble House

The Ballroom at Marble House

If there is one thing that the great houses of Newport were really built for, it is to throw a party. Many of the great “cottages” are really just enormous entertaining spaces with five and six bedroom homes attached. One of the grandest of ballrooms ever to be built in Newport is the one in Marble House, which was designed by Richard Morris Hunt in 1888 for Mrs. William K . Vanderbilt. This magnificent home is now part of the collection of buildings preserved by the Preservation Society of Newport County (PSNC) and is open for visitation. More

Towards a Sustainable Architecture

Towards a Sustainable Architecture

Many people are asking themselves two question given the current state of the world: “How can I can money during the recession?” and “How can I reduce my carbon footprint given the disturbing changes many are seeing in the global environment?”

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