About Ross Cann

http://a4arch.com

Posts by Ross Cann:

“A Brief History of Insulation”

“A Brief History of Insulation”

As the leaves turn brilliant colors and the evening temperatures begin to fall, it is time to think about the value and many advantages of good insulation. Insulation is meant to keep heat out in the summer and in during the winter and is measured in “R-value” (with the higher the value the more resistant to heat transfer is the material). No other construction project works twenty-four hours a day, every day of the year from the date of the project to the last day of the building’s life. More

“Understanding Complete Streets”

“Understanding Complete Streets”

As we approach the one year anniversary of the Washington Square Charrette it is useful to revisit the primary recommendations and review what developments have occurred and what other complementary efforts are underway. Change comes slowly and sometime the most important change is the education of the community and the evolution of their thinking. More

Preservation and the Secretary of Interior Guidelines

Preservation and the Secretary of Interior Guidelines

 

This past year has seen many instances where the issues of preservation and rehabilitation have been in the news and on people’s minds.  For those who have not been through the procedure of presenting before the Historic District Commission (HDC), the process is shrouded in mystery and fear.  But Newport HDC, like most similar commissions around the state and country, operates on a relatively concise and straightforward set of rules.  Because there are often tax and rehabilitation credits at stake, the government has established a set of standards to determine whether work qualifies as a proper preservation effort.  These are the Secretary of Interior Standards of Rehabilitation (designated “36 CRFR 67” for federal tax incentive programs), comprised of ten guidelines: More

“Doris Duke Preservation Awards to be Presented”

“Doris Duke Preservation Awards to be Presented”

Newport Rhode Island is fortunate to have one of the most intact collections of important 18th, 19thand early 20th Century buildings anywhere in America. But these buildings have not survived to the present day simply by not being torn down (although that was a useful starting point). For the most part, they are here because individuals and institutions took on the difficult and expensive task of preserving them and adapting them to be useful and relevant to present times. More

Zoning

Zoning

Before one can build in Newport, every project must pass zoning review. Zoning regulations are rules adopted by governments to control the use, density, height, setbacks and a myriad of other aspects of building. Starting in New York City in 1916, the use of “Zoning Ordinances” has spread outward until almost every jurisdiction in the United States had some form of zoning in place by the mid 1970’s. Newport’s zoning ordinance was adopted such that every lot created after April 13, 1977 is supposed to conform to the current regulations. More

‘Historic Tax Credit’ Revived

‘Historic Tax Credit’ Revived

This past week has been a notable one for historic preservation, as the long-idled Historic Tax Credit for restoring historic buildings was passed by the state General Assembly. The new program is a modification of an earlier one that was in effect prior to 2008.  Grow Smart Rhode Island, an organization dedicated both to encouraging the preservation and development of urban areas and the protection of rural farmlands, lobbied for reviving the program under which any individual project will be limited to $5 million in credits, and the program’s total pool funds will be limited to credits left unused from the previous program. More

“Developing an Eye for Design”

“Developing an Eye for Design”

Architects go beyond merely looking at the surface of a project to try and see through to the underlying issues.  These are skills that translate across many professions and areas of interest.  “Looking” is primarily the passive activity of gazing upon an object, but “seeing” is an active engagement that involves measuring proportion, studying detail, counting elements to ultimately understand the object more deeply, often through the act of drawing. More

Rosecliff and the Newport Flower Show

Rosecliff and the Newport Flower Show

Newport is famous for its grand buildings, many of which are both extravagant and unique.  Many of the grand mansions on Bellevue Aveunue in particular were created more fore entertaining than for living as some of these grand “summer cottages” were used for only 6-8 weeks each and were closed up the rest of the time.  Some of these properties have become part of the Preservation Society and continue to serve as showcases for design and architecture.  One such mansion that will be particularly in the spotlight this coming week is Rosecliff, which is the setting for the Newport Flower Show scheduled for June 21st, 22nd, and 23rd. More

A New Perspective on Public Space – “Streets and Sidewalks as Public Spaces”

A New Perspective on Public Space – “Streets and Sidewalks as Public Spaces”

When most people think about the subject of “Public Space” they will often immediately think of parks and public squares.  The recent debate about and subsequent renovation of Queen Anne Sqaure, shows how much attention and passion is wrapped up into theses places.  Parks like Touro Park, Queen Anne Square and Washington Sqaure serve as visual punctuation to the buildings which form the street wall and main body of the city.  But what about the streets and sidewalks? More

Washington Square

Washington Square


Newport has been many things over its lifetime: a Gilded Age resort, a post World War II Navy town, and today, an important destination for historic tourism. But at one time Newport was a small colonial village that was made prosperous by its excellent harbor and access to shipping and trade. At the heart of this colonial community were LongWharf, which represented the mercantile spine of the city, and Washington Square, which has the community’s civic hub.  Some of the most important Colonial-era buildings still exist Around Washington Square. These include Richard Munday’s Colony House (1739), which served as the part-time home of the Rhode Island legislature until the beginning of the 20th century, and Peter Harrison’s Brick Market (1772), which was the place that traders and seamen brought their goods to be sold and traded. More