Newport Architecture


John Noble Alsop Griswold House, 1862-64; architect: Richard Morris Hunt.

Now the home of the Newport Art Museum, the Griswold House was designed in the Modern Gothic or Stick Style.  Hunt was commissioned in 1861 by Griswold to design this Newport summer cottage. During his travels to provincial France, England, and Germany Hunt sketched medieval houses that served as his inspiration. The house used balloon-frame construction, and the distinctive stickwork half-timbering is non-structural. 


Redwood Library, 1748-49, 50; architect: Peter Harrison.

Harrison designed the Redwood Library in the Palladian style, carefully studying the details and proportions in Palladio's publications. There have been many renovations and additions to the library, notably one by George Snell in 1858 which added a large reading room. 


Isaac Bell Jr. House, 1881-83; architect: McKim, Mead and White.

Masters of the shingle style, McKim Mead and White were true innovators of architecture.  The Bell House has many references to other historic styles, but no one prevails.  It has the massing of a Queen Anne, a Georgian Palladian eyebrow dormer, and single lancet palladian windows.  It even has Japanese influences in the faux bamboo columns and bronze dragon brackets. 


Touro Synagogue, 1749-63; architect: Peter Harrison.

Like the Redwood Library, the Touro Synagogue is a Palladian building and the result of intense study.  Harrison studied Sephardic Jewish Synagogues, resulting in a sparsely ornamented building at an odd angle to the street.  The angle resulted from the need for the Torah ark to face east toward Jerusalem.


Colony House, 1739-44, designer/builder: Richard Munday.

Richard Munday was not a trained architect but a master builder. He designed the Colony House in the Early Georgian or Wrenian Baroque Style.  Munday died soon after construction began. It is likely that Peter Harrison steped in to oversee the construction.