walker building

This former auto repair shop dates back to 1953.  As the first African-American owned business located in downtown Newport, this building—its physical presence and economic significance—was an under-appreciated contributor to the local cultural history.  When purchased by the new owner, after decades of neglect, the building had degenerated into various states of disrepair. A well-known eyesore, this building located in the Newport Historict District was loved by few.  Neighbors objected to the proposed restoration, claiming that the property should be demolished and replaced with a ‘historic’ new building.  Instead, Foster Associates led the project through difficult approvals and into construction.   Awnings and copper trellises were added to provide a residential scale to the building, while defining the new retail spaces.  New wood storefront windows replaced the existing overhead garage doors, allowing light to invigorate spaces of intense color.  Different colors denote the new functions of retail and office spaces, made visible from the sidewalk.  There, the public, once opposed to the restoration, now has an opportunity to view the building as a product of their past once derelict and now restored.

Newport Historical Society Merit Award, 1998

Location | Newport, RI
Landscape | Lisa Lewis Landscapes
Contractor | JG Edwards Construction

Photography | Warren Jagger Photography