Newport Visitor Center

This project re-imagines the Newport Visitor’s Center as a framing device for the places, events and qualities that constitute the city of Newport. The visitor’s center focuses the visitor on the city itself while providing the necessary information and context to enrich their experience.

Conceptual Approach

The interior space is arranged as a series of constructed views: large-scale, habitable-furniture interventions are formed and composed to reveal (and frame) large windows which look out to Newport. The façade is conceived as a series of framed portals to the architecture, food, boats and events that constitute the magic of Newport through graphics, video and multi-media.

Program Distribution

The visitor’s center is divided into four areas arranged around a central circulation zone arranged along the axis of the building. The primary Information Desk projects into this central area as the largest and most distinct form in the space. Ticket Sales are incorporated in this form, but projects out of the building for after-hours operation.

Formal Language

The formal language is based on the icons of Newport: boats and wood-frame construction. The interior forms and entrances are an abstraction of wooden boat construction. Two Light Sails bring the concept to the scale of the city. These two objects act as a framing gateway based at the Newport Visitor’s Center, becoming powerful light projections after dark.

competition — Newport Visitors Center
collaborators — Markus Berger, Eun Lee
location — Newport, RI
— 20,000 sf
date — Summer 2011
awards — Honorable Mention