Sail Newport Project Highlighted in Newport Daily News

Thank you to the Newport Daily News and Derek Gomes!

Sail Newport launches major project

By Derek Gomes

NEWPORT - Monday was a perfect day to be out on the water.

Sail Newport hopes its fundraising campaign, with a $10 million goal, gives more people throughout Aquidneck Island, Rhode Island and beyond the opportunity to experience NarragansettBay. Maintaining and promoting public access to “blue space” is a leading part of Sail Newport's mission.

Monday's ceremonial groundbreaking for a new, 8,500-square-foot education and recreation center at the nonprofit organization's home at Fort Adams State Park was a major step toward that end.

“This is a facility that has been a long time coming,” Brad Read, Sail Newport's executive director, told the dozens gathered at the site of the soon-tobe Mid-Park Marine Education and Recreation Center.

The idea for the facility, he said, was conceived in August 2008, but was put on the back burner because of the down economy.

Now that building, which is estimated to cost $5 million, could be completed by next July. Behan Bros. Inc. of Middletown was awarded the construction contract.

Read was quick to point out that the campaign is for more than constructing a building; it is to grow the organization's endowment and “break down barriers” to people's enjoyment of Rhode Island's water resources.

Sail Newport already provides free and reduced-price sailing lessons to schools and youth programs. With the facility, the opportunities will only multiply, Read said, noting that all fourth-graders in Newport public schools will learn about sailing there starting in the 2017-18 school year.

Now, the organization stops giving lessons to school groupsin the second week of October, but the building will allow Read to expand the offerings through the beginning of November.

“This will be a meaningful sailing program, not just a one-and-done lesson,” with an emphasis on water safety and learning how to sail, Read said after the ceremony. “There's nothing like showcasing the environment where these kids live.”

The two-and-a-half-story building will feature classrooms, public restrooms, showers and changing rooms, meeting and office space, and a regatta headquarters.

Among those in attendance were state and local politicians, including former Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee; Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed, Rep. Marvin Abney and Rep. Lauren Carson (all Democrats representing Newport); and Newport City Councilman Marco Camacho.

Paiva Weed and Janet Coit, director of the state Department of Environmental Management, praised the publicprivate partnership that helps preserve the natural beauty of Fort Adams State Park and gives residents recreational opportunities. Sail Newport is located on land leased through DEM, since the state owns Fort Adams State Park.

Besides benefiting state residents, the park bolsters Rhode Island's profile and helps drive its economy, Paiva Weed said.

In 2015, the around-the-world Volvo Ocean Race madeits lone U.S. stop in Newport, bringing about 130,000 tourists here and pumping about $47 million into the economy, she said. The race will return to the city in 2018.

“This facility will support the demand for educational programs that Sail Newport provides on a year-round basis and provide a facility for our local sporting programs,” Paiva Weed said. “It will be an asset that will make Newport even a better destination.”

“Sail Newport is the premier public sailing facility in the United States,” said board President Steve Kirkpatrick, “and arguably the world.”

This story originally appeared in the Newport Daily News.

Sail Newport Project Featured In Newport This Week

Thank you to Betsy Sherman Walker and Newport This Week!

Experiencing the ‘Wonder of the Water’

By Betsy Sherman Walker

In discussing his vision for Sail Newport's $5 million "Campaign for Blue Space," Executive Director Brad Read said, "We will be able to offer year-round sailing programs and marine education." (Image courtesy of NewPort Architecture, LLC)“Campaign for Blue Space,” Sail Newport’s $5 million vision for expanding its waterfront facility and programs, reached a major milestone earlier this week with a groundbreaking on Sept. 12 at Fort Adams. A hardhat brigade of supporters, dignitaries and staff took turns pitching shovels into the very spot where construction on the energy-efficient, environmentally compliant and historically appropriate 7,000-squarefoot facility is scheduled to begin.

At the podium, there were shout-outs galore. Sail Newport Executive Director Brad Read thanked his staff. He thanked Sail Newport founding fathers Robin Wallace and Bart Dunbar, Rhode Island Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, Rhode Island DEM Director Janet Coit, Rep. Marvin Abney (D-Newport), Rep. Lauren Carson (D-Newport), and Newport City Councilor Marco Camacho.

During the Sept. 12 groundbreaking ceremony for Sail Newport's Mid- ParkMarine Education and Recreation Center, Executive Director Brad Read made a point of inviting his staff to help get the construction started. With a May 2017 completion date, the center will provide classroom and recreational facilities to sailors of all ages and levels of experience.(Photo by Betsy Sherman Walker)Paiva Weed acknowledged the late Rep. Paul Crowley and his wife, Diana, and the “public-private partnership” that enabled the project to move forward. DEM’s Coit, citing “vision and persistence,” spoke of the courage of Read and the Sail Newport board.

“This will be a facility for the state, the region, and the world,” Coit said, “that will put Rhode Island on the map.”

Yet for all the mentions of dignitaries and diehards, it was the ones who were not there who garnered the most attention. They couldn’t be there: Most of them were still getting home from school and rifling through their backpacks.

“Every fourth-grader in Newport,” said Read, “is going to learn how to sail.”

Paiva Weed saw the same opportunities for students at Thompson, the MET School, and youth from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center. “This is an important public and private, nonprofit partnership,” she added, “and will mean important access to the bay for all Rhode Islanders.”

Read added that he envisions a beehive of activity. “They will come here, learn teamwork, get life’s lessons, and acquire self-esteem,” he said. “These kids will be able to sail around the harbor, get to King Park, and return.”

Founded in 1983, Sail Newport evolved from the collective community angst following the loss of the America’s Cup to Australia into a concerted effort to re-energize Newport’s reputation as a world-class sailing town, worthy of world-class competition.

Long story short: It has done what it set out to do, and then some. The Youth Sailing Program teaches sailing, at all skill levels, to more than 1,000 students each year. Sail Newport offers free programs for students from around Aquidneck Island, and stages countless regattas for sailors of all ages and abilities. On an international level, the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in 2015 brought nearly $50 million into the state. The great Ocean Racers will return in 2018.

On paper, the new facility is called the Mid-Park Marine Education and Recreation Center. When realized, the project will expand its public access sailing programs and its marine education programming. The new facility will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) compliant, environmentally sustainable, solar-powered, and will use a rain harvesting system to help with the demands of water usage. It predicts an annual carbon footprint of zero pounds of CO2 per square inch. Fully accessible, the facility will house “ample” restrooms and showers on the dock level, classrooms and meeting rooms on the second level, and offices on the third. It will also serve as a clubhouse of sorts for the Newport Rugby Club.

The facility will also be historically appropriate. According to sailor, former board member and architect Mohamad Farzan, a partner with NewPort Architecture, “The overall size and mass of the building is consistent with other Fort Adams buildings, which were simple square or rectangular buildings with gable or hipped roofs, some with dormers or monitors.” It is scheduled for completion in 2017.

Sail Newport’s vision has always been to put anyone and everyone – no matter what their age or capabilities – in a boat. This is a goal not only of putting sailing within the reach of all Newporters – it is also based in the belief that all Newporters, no matter where they live, should feel comfortable in a boat, and that the joys of sailing, of a day spent on the water knocking around, is a right and not a privilege.

Read calls it experiencing “the wonder of the water.”

One of the more noticeable things about the culture of Sail Newport is the abundance of team spirit. A major building block in 1983, it seems to have prevailed to this day.

Dunbar praised Bob Bendick, who was DEM director when Sail Newport was founded.

“Bob was a proponent of public sailing,” said Dunbar. “It was his vision of a public-private partnership” that got Sail Newport where it is today. “It’s not where we started,” he added, “but it’s where we ended up.”

It’s that better-than-the-sum-of-its-parts vision that seems to drive the organization. “It is going to be awesome,” promised Read.

“The most exciting thing,” said Dunbar, “is that it has become a fantastic public sailing facility. Nothing gives me more pleasure than what has happened at Sail Newport.”

Originally published by Newport This Week

Samuel Durfee House Featured in Newport Daily News

Thank you to the Newport Daily News for this great article on the Samuel Durfee House barn!

Barn project earns Doris Duke preservation award

By Sean Flynn

Staff writer

NEWPORT - When Heather and Michael de Pinho needed a full-sized family home, they made what may seem a daring decision and turned their attention to the 17th century barn in their backyard.

“We preserved as much as possible of the original structure and made it a home,” Michael de Pinho said. “But we kept it a barn.”

“For everything we wanted to do, the word rustic was used,” Heather de Pinho said.

The Newport Restoration Foundation and the city of Newport have chosen the de Pinhos, who own the Samuel Durfee House Inn at 352 Spring St., as winners of a 2016 Doris Duke Historic Preservation Award for saving the barn and creating a beautiful living space within it.

The open Great Room that makes up the ground floor of the former barn now includes a breathtaking kitchen, a dining area and a living room with impressive windows looking out the east wall, which had to be rebuilt. Three bedroomsare on the second floor.

The award recognizes the de Pinhos “for saving one of the most vulnerable kinds of historic buildings.”

Peter M. Scotti of Providence, azoning and real estate expert, has said the Durfee House, a two-story Federalstyle home, was constructed around 1803. The Isaiah Crooker Barn was moved to the parcel sometime between1870 and 1880, according to maps from the period, he said.

Rick Greenwood, deputy director of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, submitted a written report in support of the dePinhos' renovation plan in 2014.

“The Crooker Barn is historically significant as an important surviving example of the urban barn, a once common but now rare building type,” he wrote. “Built to accommodate wagons and other vehicles and other types of storage, these barns were an integral part of urban Newport, usually occupying sites on the interior of the block.”

Greenwood wrote the barn “contributes to the significance of the Southern Thames Street National Register Historic District and is worthy of preservation.”

Doris Duke Historic Preservation Award winners this year also include the New York Yacht Club for the restoration of its Harbour Court clubhouse to its “original splendor and reworking a kitchen addition to better match the Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson design of the historic building,” according to the award announcement. Architect Martha L. Werenfels of Providence oversaw the project.

Harbour Court, which overlooks Newport Harbor in the area of Halidon and Wellington avenues, was built in 190406 for Natalie Bayard Dresser, the widow of John Nicholas Brown I. The waterfront estate remained in the Brown family until 1988, when it was commissioned as the yacht club's Newport clubhouse.

The third winner of a Doris Duke award this year is the state of Rhode Island for its restoration of Eisenhower House within Fort Adams State Park. Begun in 2013, the restoration brought back to life “one of Newport's great Victorian gems,” the award announcement said. Special care was taken “to conserve original features such as wooden sash windows and the signature grand staircase of architect George Champlin Mason.”

President Dwight D. Eisenhower used the house, built around 1873, as his “summer White House” in 1958 and again in 1960.

Of the three award-winning projects, the greatest transformation was the de Pinhos' barn, which had a dirt floor and was being used mainly to store cars, a boat and tools. Michael de Pinho had dug up horseshoes from the barn's dirt floor.

“The barn was in desperateneed of repair,” Heather de Pinho said. “We either had to tear it down or find a new use for it. We decided to re-purpose it as a home.”

The reconstruction and redesign project was overseen by architects Mohamad Farzan and Dorienne West Farzan of NewPort Architecture.

“They were great,” Heather de Pinho said. “They are very interested in saving old, historic structures. They helped redo the inn after we purchased it.”

When the de Pinhos purchased the Spring Street property in 1999, they created a fiveroom, bed-and-breakfast in the Durfee House, but they left little room for living quarters for themselves. That was fine until their son, born in 2001, started getting older and they felt they had outgrown their space.

As part of the new project, the Farzans designed a 150-square-foot addition connecting the house and the barn, allowing it to be converted into a home for the de Pinho family with easy access to the inn.

Michael de Pinho is originally from Baltimore, but spent summers in Newport when he was growing up. Heather de Pinho is originally from Washington, D.C.; the two met when they were students at what is now Towson University in Baltimore.

“He always wanted to live here,” Heather said.

The de Pinhos are proud of being chosen a recipient of a Doris Duke award.

“Our project beautified the neighborhood,” Heather said.

Lanphear Livery featured in Providence Journal and New London Day

The New London Day and Providence Journal recently featured NPA's latest project, the Lanphear Livery. You can read the full article below:

Preservation project mends blue-collar bones of century-old Lanphear Livery at Watch Hill 'gateway'

At the end of the 19th century, it's where the help stayed, but today the former Lanphear Livery is the first place visitors see when they enter the tony Watch Hill area.

The 21,000-square-foot building at One Bay St. was a community gateway battered by time and then by Superstorm Sandy four years ago. It was, in the words of one person who knew the building, "a mess."

But now, after a five-year effort costing some $6 million, the Lanphear building is once again hosting tenants and is a couple of weeks away from completing a historic preservation. One Bay Street Center LLC, the nonprofit that took on the restoration with foundation and community support, received $1 million in historic-preservation tax credits from the state to help push the project over the finish line.

"If we didn't do what we did, the building probably would have been taken down," said Grant Simmons, president of One Bay Street Center.

And if the building, owned by Watch Hill Limited Partnership, had been demolished, he added, it's unclear what could have been built there, since it is in a flood plain.

"It was preserve it or lose it," he said.

But preservation proved a challenge. According to Jack Evans of Newport Architecture, the old livery was a warren, an amalgamation of a few buildings erected or moved to the site during different eras that had been cobbled together and then, over the years, had sunk. The building needed to be stabilized and brought up to code.

"The building was in distress and needed some help," Evans said. "You could run your hand under the column posts."

So Pariseault Builders Inc., of Warwick, jacked up the building 8 feet to pour a new concrete foundation below. Many of the supports had to be shored up as well, and the building as a whole needed to be opened up inside, Evans said.

Rich Youngken, historic preservation planner for the building, said old photos from the Lanphear and Holdredge families — the Holdredges ran a garage at the site for many years — helped shape decisions about how to restore the building. But the basic idea, he said, was to bring the place into the modern age while reusing as many of the original elements as possible.

"Preservation doesn’t mean freezing in time," Youngken said in a video promoting the project. "It means allowing for adaptation and evolution."

The building dates to 1887, according to historians, and the livery tended to horses used by Watch Hill visitors who made their summer arrivals by carriage. Upstairs areas of the three-story structure were quarters for grooms and, when cars became popular, for chauffeurs.

Above the ceiling in a new atrium area, a huge gear mechanism has been left intact to show how workers in the early years would lift automobiles to the upper floors of the building with a hand-cranked elevator.

Among other interesting items workers found as they rebuilt the Lanphear were old bottles, a newspaper from World War I, an old wagon, a dartboard area and graffiti left by construction workers from a century ago. Workers from Pariseault are leaving their own names etched into the building now, buried behind walls, their own mark on the history of the place.

"She's a good girl," construction supervisor Gary Jennings said of the building. "She's weathered a lot of storms."

Youngken said the Lanphear is one of the last properties remaining in Watch Hill that reflects the service aspect of life in the seaside village at the turn of the century. In its bones resides the village's evolution as wealthy enclave where dwellers discovered the restorative qualities of living beachside during the summer, along with all the pleasantries associated with historic hotels such as the now-rebuild Ocean House overlooking Block Island Sound.

Charles "Chuck" Royce, who basically resurrected the Ocean House in 2010 with component parts salvaged from that storied hotel's demolition, is "a very influential supporter of the project," said Simmons, one of the principals in the Lanphear restoration. The building, when finished next month, will have four apartments as well as office space and a meeting area and courtyard for community gatherings and presentations.

The courtyard faces a large parking area that could make the Lanphear building a natural pass-through for beachgoers, Simmons said.

"It's an important gateway, a signature building ...." Royce said in an interview. "But I also think it can return to having a true community practical function for open space that will benefit everyone."

The Alfred M. Roberts Jr. Charitable Foundation is also a major sponsor, Simmons said, and the Watch Hill Conservancy has been supportive and is considering moving its office into a second-floor space.

In turn, patrons of the Ocean House have become supporters of the two businesses that just opened on the first floor of the Lanphear building. The Lily Pad art gallery and Angela Moore women's boutique both cater to the upscale clientele who frequent Watch Hill.

Vivi-Anne Weber, owner of the Lily Pad, has been in Watch Hill seasonally for more than three decades, including 11 years in the Lanphear building. She said she is happy with the way the restoration has worked out. In keeping with the project, she has left the historic look of her entryway floor rather than have it match the composite flooring she has throughout her gallery.

"It's a piece of art now," she said. "You paint it and it becomes just a floor."

Newport Historical Society project featured in Newport This Week

Thank you to Newport This Week and Betsy Sherman Walker for this great article!

A Historical Leap of Faith 

By Betsy Sherman Walker 

Ruth Taylor takes in the arc of Newport history through the practiced eye of an anthropologist. “Anthropology is the history of today,” she says, “and history is the anthropology of the past.”

What this means for Taylor, as executive director of the Newport Historical Society, is that history is active, not passive; historical events are interconnected, and that the voices, faces, and experiences of Newport’s past residents have a tangible presence in the history of Newport going forward. She is also quick to point out that she is a “public historian, and not an academic historian,” which lands her squarely under the banner of the NHS mission, to “act as a resource center for the education of the public about the history of Newport County, so that the knowledge of the past may contribute to a fuller understanding of the present.” Whether by design or default, the dramatic facelift of the Historical Society’s 100-year-old building on Touro Street has succeeded in making this as clear as the nose on its face.

Or the elevator on its façade.

One imagines it must have been a tremendous leap of faith, two years ago, for the staff and board to consider—and cozy up to—architect Mohamad Farzan’s out-of-thebox suggestion to externalize the elevator in order to open up the interior and allow for much-needed storage and exhibition space. Yet it only takes a quick glance around the once quasi-Dickensian, albeit appealingly old-school interior, to see how successful that leap was.

During a recent morning visit, the newness of it all was still apparent. Desks were being delivered and the alabaster walls of the lobby, which will be used as an exhibition space for the society’s trove of Newportiana, were blank. All around, however, it was business as usual for the staff, going about their jobs of being the information hub, from a historical perspective, of all things Newport. “It’s our ongoing mission to provide broad access to all, from school children to avocational historians," Taylor says, adding that the reach is not only national, but international.

When asked what the Historical Society can do now that it couldn’t do a year ago, she explains that “there are two major areas of how we function that have been extraordinarily improved.” The first is in the depth and breadth of the services the staff is able to provide to the people it serves. By all accounts the massive trove of materials has been, for years, stored as pieces arrived: brought from private attics, a hodge-podge of treasures. “Before, we would struggle to find what we had where,” she said. “Everything was in shelves and shelves and bins and bins. If I was looking for something, it would take at least an hour.” Slowly but surely, with stateof the-art technology and equipment and museum-quality storage facilities, every last artifact that has been given to the Society since 1824, when it was founded as the “Southern Cabinet” of the Rhode Island Historical Society, is finding a home.

Sometimes one asks questions during an interview, already knowing what the answer will be. Taylor has been executive director since 2007; and affiliated, as a consultant, since 2005. When asked if she loves her job, the swiftness of her response seems to validate everything, major or minor, she has done during her tenure: “I love my job. It’s deeply satisfying. It’s fun; and It’s deeply satisfying. It’s fun; and the collection is amazing. It’s like Christmas, every day.”

And what makes it so, she is equally as swift to add, is her “amazing staff.” They are well-trained, and brimming with “professional expertise. They are excited about the work we are doing, understand the comprehensiveness of the mission. All of our projects are teamconceived, and team-driven,” she adds, and she is grateful for how well they work together.

Challenges remain. They now have the means and the mission for making every last letter, manuscript, bits of minutiae and slices of life accessible to anyone looking for information; but there is still a lot of identifying to be done. “Our policy of openness,” she says, “is often at odds with our ability to help. We still don’t know,” she adds, “what we have.”

But of what they do know, she knows that what they have is remarkable stuff. Taylor made one of the society’s better-known finds, in 2012, in a pile of papers—thought to be from the 19th century—of a hand-drawn map of Valley Forge. It is thought to have been prepared for George Washington, in preparation for battle. “We were looking at these papers in a collection of items,” she recalls. “I noticed a folded piece of paper that looked out of place, and I said, ’Let’s take a look at that.’ “ The clue for her was the anachronism factor and her historian’s eye: The 18th-century paper of the map stood out among the 19th century documents. “That kind of moment,” she says, is what defines the work she does. “I must have unfolded and folded it ten thousand times.”

As an anthropologist, Taylor sees villages and cultures everywhere, populating Newport’s nearly 400-year-old timeline, all with stories waiting to be told. The great strength of the Society’s collection— and what she sees as its importance going forward—will be to “deliver information about the past to the people who need it today.” The Smithsonian Institution in Washington has been called the nation’s attic; she says that the Historical Society is Newport’s Smithsonian. “I like to say that the bad news is that we still have a lot to go through,” she says, “but the good news is that we will.”

Busy summer!

It's been a very busy summer for NPA! We have several projects currently under construction, with more to follow in the coming months.

NPA partners Jack Evans, Dorienne West Farzan, and Mohamad Farzan put on hard hats for a tour.

NPA partners Jack Evans, Dorienne West Farzan, and Mohamad Farzan put on hard hats for a tour.

And we've been happy to support the Newport Historical Society's Antique Show, the Sargent Rehabilitation Center's Annual Golf Tournament, the New London Landmarks architectural tour, and the Holdredge/ Lamphear Hard Hat Tour.

We're always happy to support the Sargent Rehabilitation Center and all the excellent work they do in the community. 

We're always happy to support the Sargent Rehabilitation Center and all the excellent work they do in the community. 

Windows: A View into a Building's Soul

We're grateful to the Newport Daily News for featuring NPA's updates and enhancements to the Newport Historical Society's headquarters in their Spring Home & Garden preview. 

From the article:

“Windows and doors are the most important aspects of (historic) buildings,” said Mohamad Farzan, an architect, who compared them to people’s eyes.

“Gerry is doing this project correctly. He’s rehabbing them as they are and putting them carefully back together,” said Farzan, one of four architects with the firm NewPort Architecture LLC, the sole architecture firm for the project. “That’s what you’re supposed to do.”

Moorland House Before and After



At Moorland House, a recent NPA project, what was once a basic midcentury Cape has become an extended and modernized home. Every room was revisited and revised to improve the water views and allow more daylight in, with interiors inspired by the owner's enthusiasm for yachting. (Another crucial part of the update: making sure that the house could accommodate his racing crew.) Lastly, on the exterior, porches were added to catch the Narragansett Bay view and allow extra space for entertaining with terraces and an outdoor kitchen.

Bring back historic tax credits!

As advocates for historic preservation, we're a huge fan of historic tax credits, which benefit anyone who restores or rehabilitates buildings that are located in a historic district or listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Mohamad Farzan of NPA has joined a new Rhode Island Senate commission intended to propose legislative initiatives which will improve the existing program. Find out more at WPRI.