The Audrain Building & Auto Museum located on Bellevue Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island was recently presented with a 2015 Rhody Award for Historic Preservation.

NCA Principal in Charge, John K. Grosvenor, AIA, said “NCA is honored to have worked with such an outstanding design team that included NCA Principal Dan Herchenroether, American Realty Capital, Parker Construction, Camera O’Neill Consulting Engineers, and Light Insight Design Studio. The Audrain Building ranks among RI’s most architecturally significant buildings and the transformation is extraordinary.”

Bruce Price originally designed the Audrain Building in 1903. The 16,000 square-foot commercial structure represents one of four Gilded Age buildings that form an architecturally significant block on Bellevue Avenue. The three adjoining historic buildings include the Travers Block designed by Richard Morris Hunt; the Newport Casino designed by McKim, Mead, and White; and the King Block designed by Perkins and Betton.

In November 2013, the client purchased the Audrain Building and enlisted NCA to transform the second story offices into his headquarters. The project was completed in nine months. In February 2014, the client also enlisted NCA to transform the first floor into a museum that would showcase his collection of antique automobiles. Completed in six months, the museum project was on a parallel track to designing the headquarters on the second floor.

For the office interiors, the client wished to emulate an early 20th century club. The bold concept called for reconfiguring the layout to accommodate a new carrera marble lobby, custom steel caged elevator, barrel vaulted ceiling, six private offices, support-staff area, conference room, kitchen, restrooms and a 20’x20′ leaded glass skylight. The fixture incorporates LED technology with filters to mimic the look of natural daylight streaming through a traditional skylight.

The Auto Museum project entailed removing all of the existing bearing walls, shoring the structure, reinforcing the floor to accommodate triple load bearing tongue and groove Douglas fir decking, and installing powder coated steel, fire-rated trusses. All of the windows were replaced with impact resistant glass. The South elevation was upgraded with a large two story arched opening that was custom fit to allow antique cars to access the building. The museum’s interiors feature state-of-the-art LED/RGB lighting for the structural steel trusses and track LED lighting for the cars.