Newport Architectural Forum
P.O. Box 204 Newport, RI 02840
Past Events

December 4, 2013

Middletown Police Station (East Main Rd, Middletown, RI)

Workshop: Implementing Design Guidelines

Growsmart RI, in conjunction with the RI chapter of the American Planning Association, organized a workshop for municipal planners and planning boards members who are considering the use of design guidelines / standards for development in order to achieve/maintain the physical character that the community desires. The workshop will provide guidance about how a community can go about answering two key questions:

1) What does the community REALLY want? Architect Don Powers discussed how  communities go about engaging officials and citizens in analyzing the existing physical character of an area and arriving at a community consensus about what they want the area to be like in the future.

2) How should we use our community planning / regulatory framework to get it? Nate Kelly of Horsley Witten then discussed the different approaches a municipality can use for incorporating design goals into RI’s legally mandated community planning framework (ie, comprehensive plan, ordinances, regulations) and how to determine which approach is best suited to a given community. This program was primarily designed for planning leaders and officials but many Architectural Forum members were in attendance.


November 21, 2013

Seaman’s Church Institute (Am. Cup Blvd, Newport, RI)

Book Talk and Signing: Gracious Living: Home Design for your Future

Architectural Forum Member and Newport City Councilor Naomi Neville has  written a book entitled Gracious Living: Home Design for your Future, about how to design your home with future mobility issues in mind, so you can stay in your home longer and live more graciously while you are there. The book, illustrated with more than 200 color photographs, catalogs a wide variety of architectural designs for "aging in place," including general concepts to help create a flexible, personal, and accessible environment.


Naomi gave an engaging photographic lecture on the subject and signed books during the reception following the talk. The event was held at the beautiful Seaman’s Church institute on America’s Cup Avenue and was free for Architectural Forum members and friends!

October 25, 2013

Jane Pickens Theater and Event Center (Newport, RI)

Presentation and Panel: “Roundabouts & Complete Streets”

More than 165 people turned out for the panel on “Complete Streets” that was jointly organized by the Newport Architectural Forum and the Washington Square Root Initiative.  An outstanding group of panelists, moderated by RI Public Radio’s Joe O’Connor, explored many aspects of what Complete Streets is, why it is an important evolution in street and urban design and how Roundabouts can be part of the work to allow vehicles and pedestrians to more safely cohabitate the roadways.


The panel was followed by a terrific reception beautifully organized by Pour & Serve and hosted in the Colony House by the Newport Historical Society. The ideas that were introduced at the panel were on everyone’s minds at the reception and the magnificent 1739 building served as the platform for many interesting and engaging conversation between the panelists and the general public.  It was a great evening so many thanks to all who attended and especially those who served on the panel!

October 2-10, 2013
Tour of Ireland and Irish Architecture

July 15, 2013
Former Midway Pier / Burma Road (Middletown, RI)
Celebration Lunch: Funding of the bicycle trail from Sakonnet Bridge to the Newport Beaches

The APIC and the Architectural Forum celebrated the launch of the Aquidneck Island Bikeway with the Congressional Delegation, appointed and elected officials, state agencies, funders and bike enthusiasts. 

Attendees gathered under the tent for light refreshments, a few works from bike supporters, and for those who were interested, a short bike ride along Burma Road.
The launch celebrated the Van Beuren Charitable Foundation's generous gift to put the bikeway in motion by underwriting a design study review, the first step in moving the bikeway closer to completion.  This bikeway is project to be finished in as little as 3 to 4 years  Much of the 18 mile route is either already in place or will son be completed, thanks to the support from the Rhode Island DOT.

The Bikeway will consist of dedicated lanes plus a 1.2 mile rail with trails on Narragansett Bay.  It will connect with 55 miles of off-island bike trails.  Riders can explore the island in a manner that is safe, reduces traffic congestion, celebrates the island's natural beauty, provies healthy exercise and above all creates an unparalleled recreational asset.

July 10, 2013  11:00 a.m.
Isaac Bell House / 70 Perry Street (Newport, RI)
Tour/Exhibition: The Sketches of Stanford White

Acclaimed architect Stanford White traveled the world, sketching the things he saw.  In 1920, White's son compiled the architect's drawings and published them in a book, Sketches and Designs by Stanford White.  Participants had the opportunity to view the Preservation Society's recently acquired copy of the publication, and viewed the drawings that inspired Stanford White's work at the Isaac Bell House (1883).  The program was lead by John Tschirch who was the architectural historian of the Newport Preservation Society for more than twenty years and who remains as a consultant to the organization.

July 4, 2013 @ 11:00 a.m.
Colony House / Washington Sqaure (Newport, RI)
Event: Reading of the Declaration of Independence by the Sons of Liberty

Since 1776 the Sons of Liberty have read the Declaration of Independence in Washington Sqaure.  Celebrations were held to honor the bravery of the founding fathers who pledged their "lives, fortunes, and sacred honor" in the fight against tyranny of the English throne.  The ceremony included a 20 gun salute using the original canons by the Newport Artillery Company and the citywide ringing of bells.  This truly patriotic and very family friendly event was held in the heart of Newport where the Declaration was read from the very building it was communicated to the citizens of Rhode Island in 1776, now 237 years ago!

A commemorative map was printed in the June 29 edition of the Newport Daily News, sponsored in part by the Architectural Forum,  showing the area as it was in 1898 and outlined the conclusions of the Washington Square Community Charrette offering some conceptual ideas for restoring the town spring that lies under the Coffey gas station.

June 10, 2013: "Smart Growth" Planning and Design Awards

June 6, 2013 @ 6:00 p.m. 
Rosecliff Mansion (Newport, RI)
Lecture: "Kingscote and Beyond: The Revolutionary Architecture of Richard Upjohn"

Richard Upjohn was a leading American architect of the first half of the Nineteenth Century, was the founding President of the American Institute of Architects and was one of the primary supporters of the Gothic Revival style that rose in popularity during his early career.

Richard Upjohn's impact on American architecture was profound and revolutionary.  His Gothic-inspired churches and cottages, including Kingscote (1841), were among the first in America.  The lecture was delivered by Richard Guy Wilson, who is the extremely eridute and engaging Commonwealth Professor and Chair, Department of Architectural History at the University of Virginia.  In addition to highlighting Upjohn's work in Newport, Dr. Wilson examined the architect's use of authentic Gothic patterns and exploration of other architectural styles. 

May 31, 2013 @ 10:00 a.m.
Queen Anne Square (Newport, RI)
Dedication: "The Meeting Room"

Newport has long been the setting for some of the leading architecuts and landscape designs in the country.  In May, Newport added another work to its treasure trove of works, "The Meeting Room" 

 by the architect Maya Lin Landscape Architect Edwina von Gal.  This project, paid for entirely by private funds, features free Wi-Fi for visitors and stone carvings by the local masters at the John Steven's Shop.

Part park and part sculpture, Maya Lin stated "My interest in time,memory and history originally drew me to learn about the rich history of this area and discover the structures that once existed at this site. To be able to create a landscape that reveals 

the historic asoect of Queen Anne Square in which these physical structures, some of which have stood here for 300 years, hold the history of the people who lived and worked there through time, is an important aspect to me and the project.  The design is about sharing these spaces with the public." 

May 4, 2013 @ 9:00 a.m. 
Stanford White Theatre (Newport, RI)
Architectural Symposium: "Ogden Codman & Edith Wharton: A Design Collaboration"

In its fourth year running, the annual architectural symposium hosted by the Newport Tennis Hall of Fame has continuted to gain more and more popularity.  It provides the chance to gather with historians, scholars and owners of gracious homes to do an in depth investigation of the work of important architects who have lived and worked in Newport throughout its long and storied history.

This year the symposium focused on the noted architect and interior designer Odgen Codman and the American literary giant, Edith Wharton, who was his collaborator on the landmark work The Decoration of Houses.

Speakers at the morning session included University of Virginia Professor Richard Guy Wilson, noted Codman expert Pauline Metcalf and the historian who has studied the correspondence between Codman and Wharton most completely.  Following the morning lectures, lunch was served on the beautiful horseshoe piazza and tours of homes designed by Codman were conducted. 

May 1, 2013 @ 5:30 p.m. 
First Baptist Church / 30 Spring Street (Newport, RI)
Public Presentation: "The Results of the Washington Sqaure Charette"

Last October, more than 300 people participated in the Value Setting and Charrette session that examined ideas for Washington Square.  This area was at the very heart of the city when Newport was first settled back in 1639 and many groups are trying to revive the area so that once again it can be a center of commerce and civic life here in the city. 

The May 1 gathering presented the interesting and illuminating results of this great gathering of people and ideas.  Individuals who both had and had not attended the October event used the meeting to consider the ideas that were brought out and helped brainstorm how to move the area, and thus the entire city, forward. 

April 30, 2013: Talk by Richard Samuel Wurman, Founder of the TED conferences at IYRS

April 27, 2013 @ 8:00 a.m. 
St. John the Baptist (West Warwick, RI)
Conference: "Preservation Works"

Each year the annual statewide preservation conference gathers 300-400 individuals from around the region in a different community within the state to focus on a preservation topic that is both interesting and timely.  This year the conference focused on the way in which "Preservation Works" to create jobs and help revitalize communities.  This is particularly imporatnt as the RI state historic tax credit is hopefully being revitalized to help stimulate the statewide economy. 

The conference is normally a bargain at $40, but this year the first 10 Forum members who registered received a $20 savings as the Forum was one of the sponsors.  Many interesting sessions and tours were available to attend and a lunch was provided where individuals from various communities could meet and discuss some of the mutual challenges faced and opportunities provided to help preserve these local communities.

March 9, 2013  
Newport Art Museum (Newport, RI)
Lecture: "Newport as a Model of Urban Living: New Lesson from Old Cities"

Newport, since the early days of its settlement, has been at the forefront of American Architecture and Planning.  As a part of the Newport Art Museum winter lecture series, John Tschirch, architectural historian and the Director of Museum Affairs for the Preservation Society of Newport County, delivered a lecture entitled "Newport as a Model of Urban Living: New Lessons from Old Cities." 

The talk took the near capacity audience on a whirlwind photographic historical tour of the great European cities, from ancient Rome to modern Paris, to discuss their evoltuion and philosophical foundations of the urban design which gave them form.  He then discussed how these precedents were important in the design and development of Newport.  All in all it was a very interesting and well attended discussion. 


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