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Keeping History Above Water

Newport, Rhode Island
Date 2016
Cost $16,000
Client Newport Restoration Foundation
  • American Planning Association Rhode Island Chapter Award Outstanding Neighborhood Planning, 2016
  • CNU New England Chapter Urbanism Award, 2016
  • CNU National Charter Award, 2017

In the Fall of 2015, the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) engaged Union to lead a collaborative team of architects, engineers, and preservationists to explore the impacts of sea level rise on a historic home and its surrounding neighborhood.

The study approached the issues at the scale of the neighborhood and provided recommendations not just for homeowners, but also for regulatory agencies at the city and state levels. The team identified the need for comprehensive design guidelines and form-based zoning codes to guide how incremental adaptation can take place in Newport, focusing on community character and pedestrian engagement.

Team charrette
Residents viewing 26-panel exhibit
Final publication

The results of the research and potential solutions were presented at the NRF’s “Keeping History Above Water” Conference in April of 2016, including a formal speaking presentation, the design of a 26-panel custom exhibit, and a 40-page exhibition publication that was distributed after the conference.

This initial case study in resiliency inspired a national conference that continues to travel the country and has been held in major coastal cities such as Charleston, Norfolk, Annapolis, St. Augustine, and more.

Presentation boards