2013 Events

Workshop: Implementing Design Guidelines

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

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.


Celebration Lunch: Funding of the bicycle trail from Sakonnet Bridge to the Newport Beaches

Former Midway Pier / Burma Road (Middletown, RI) 

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. 


Tour/Exhibition: The Sketches of Stanford White

Isaac Bell House / 70 Perry Street (Newport, RI) 

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.  


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! 


Lecture: "Kingscote and Beyond: The Revolutionary Architecture of Richard Upjohn"

Rosecliff Mansion (Newport, RI) 

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. 


Dedication: "The Meeting Room"

Queen Anne Square (Newport, RI) 

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."