About Ross Cann

http://a4arch.com

Posts by Ross Cann:

The Breakers

The Breakers

Newport is known for its stately homes but the Breakers sets the standard for stately homes not just in Newport but for homes built in the nineteenth century everywhere. Designed for Cornelius Vanderbilt II in 1895 by Richard Morris Hunt, one of the greatest architects of the late 19th century, the Breakers is a masterpiece (and is often considered the archetype) of American Renaissance Revival architecture. The building is listed as having more than 125,000 square feet of space, more than 100 times the size of a typical house of that period. More

Newport Architecture & History

Newport Architecture & History

The history of Newport (and therefore to a degree the cultural history of America) is written in the architecture of our “City by the Sea.” Unfortunately, that history is written in columns, rooflines, door styles and a myriad of other architectural elements that are hard for those not trained in their unique language and grammar to read and understand. Remarkably, this past month has seen the completion of two longstanding projects which will help bridge the divide for those who wish to look more deeply into the story of Newport through its architecture and urban planning. More

Bois Dore and the Ballrooms of Newport

Bois Dore and the Ballrooms of Newport

If there is one thing that the great houses of Newport were really built for, it is to throw a party. Sometimes it seems like the great “cottages” are really just ballrooms with (comparatively) small five and six bedroom houses attached. BelcourtCastle (until the intervention of Alva Smith Vanderbilt Belmont) was really just a gigantic one bedroom apartment built over a set of stables. Marble House is famous for its single, grand guest bedroom and Rosecliff’s great interior ballroom dominates the house where Tessie Oelrichs once entertained so lavishly during the six or eight weeks a year that her family lived in Newport. These three houses and Beechwood, Marble House’s next door neighbor, continue to serve as the sites for fabulous weddings and special events many weekend evenings during the summer.

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The Breakers Circulation Study

The Breakers Circulation Study

DoorRendering

 

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Before the Flood

Before the Flood

Super Storm Sandy hit America forcefully, both in a physical and in a psychological way. Now that the New York  / New Jersey area has been hit by major weather events not just is successive years but (with the winter storm Athena) in successive weeks, many are wondering if global climate change is finally fulfilling the warnings that scientists have been making for decades and whether this situation is now “the new normal.” While weather is extraordinarily complicated, it was recently noted in the press that no one under 27 years of ages has ever experienced even a single month that was below normal for the last hundred years in the United States, so (as the song says) you don’t need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. More

New Urbanism and Mixed-Use Development

New Urbanism and Mixed-Use Development

“New Urbanism” is a term that has come into common usage after the foundation of the Congress for New Urbanism in 1993, but the ideas behind this concept are as old as cities themselves—it is just that we had forgotten the principles for a very long time.  To abbreviate the basic requirements for New Uurbanism, which are well summarized on the Victoria Transport web site (www.vtpi.org/tdm/tdm24.htm): More

Newport Casino

Newport Casino

The firm of McKim Mead & White was certainly the most influential and prolific American architectural partnership of the late Nineteenth Century and early Twentieth Century. Newport is the proud home of their very first project as the firm McKim, Mead and White: the Newport Casino at 194 Bellevue Avenue. More

“Hope for Return of Historic Tax Credits”

Maintaining and restoring historic buildings is challenging, but it is often these structures that give character and form to beautiful communities like Newport.  Thus, there is a strong societal and economic advantage for the government to help assure that these old structures remain useful. More

Newport and the future of Planning II: “City Presents Challenges for New Economic Director”

Newport and the future of Planning II: “City Presents Challenges for New Economic Director”

While Newport has been dealing with winter blizzards, behind the scenes, forward progress has been occuring on various planning efforts which will hopefully have impacts on the physical design of Newport in this (and future) summers.  After a long absence in the post of Director of City Planning & Zoning since the position was terminated on July 5, 2012, there will soon be someone overseeing the planning and development of Newport on city staff.  At the time the Director’s position was eliminated the City Manager indicated an interest in replacing the position with a Director of Economic Development and a search process was begun.  More

485 Spring Street

485 Spring Street

LEED Certified Home in Newport County 

A4 Architecture project earns high praise from multiple publications  More