Atlantic Avenue Residence, Newport, Rhode Island

Scope of Project/Services

The client asked us to build his family a new summer getaway home with expansive ocean views on a property he purchased on Atlantic Avenue in Newport, RI.  He also asked for special attention to be paid to the kitchen, and outdoors, the design of a basketball court and recreation area.

Special Requests or Needs of the Client or Job

The abutting lot between our client’s property and the ocean was empty at the time. He wanted to be able to take advantage of the spectacular ocean views from as many vantage points as possible should the owner of the other property build in the future.

Also, the client asked us to design the home using SIPs (acronym for “structural insulated panels”), a building system used for strength and energy efficiency as well as reducing the cost of labor in construction. [Learn more about SIPs here.]

Challenges and Solutions  

While the Ocean Drive property between the clients’ lot and the water view was empty at the time, the other property’s owner planned to build at some point, which would obstruct our client’s views. Thinking forward to the future, we wanted to give the client as many options as possible to enjoy the view. We chose a linear model of design, extending the home out to either side from the center with two wings. After researching the other lot and where that owner would have to build, we also strategically selected the spot on our client’s property on which to build the home.

Finally, in the center of the design, we gave our client three unique living rooms, each built one on top of another, to provide more options to enjoy the view should the other owner build. To this day, our client enjoys an unobstructed view of the Atlantic ocean.

Building with SIPs posed its own challenges, with the angles, gables and curves in the design. With the client’s blessing, we ended up employing a hybrid building design using the structural insulated panels on the bottom floors, and the traditional methods of construction on the top floor.

Special or Remarkable Features

The driveway curves under a nice Richardsonian Romanesque archway between the kitchen and the garage, allowing cover from the elements for entrance into the home through the kitchen.

The home has three fireplaces, two in the 1st and 2nd floor living rooms and one in the kitchen.

What We Enjoyed Most About this Project

We hadn’t yet had the opportunity to design a home using SIPs panels, so we welcomed the opportunity to work with a new material personally requested by the client. Innovation is at the heart of what we do as architects, and with innovation comes new challenges. But that’s what makes architecture such an exciting field!

Contractors and Other Subcontractors

Contractor: Behan Brothers

Landscape Architect: Verde Design + Horticulture

Exterior Photography: Maaike Bernstrom Photography

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