Vietnam Memorial Designer Maya Lin to Design Newport Project
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Maya Lin came to Newport recently to announce her upcoming permanent installation, "The Meeting Room," which will be located at Queen Anne Square in the midst of the historic center of the city.
All-star team to honor Newport's great preservationist
Chosen for her skill in creating artistic and architectural installations sensitive to the context of the site, Ms. Lin will work with accomplished landscape architect Edwina von Gal. They will create a space that embodies the historic personality of the city and is well-matched to the scale of the park.
New features include a fountain, additional tree plantings, and seating areas created from historic stone foundations. Distinguished Newport stone carver Nick Benson, whose family has collaborated with Maya Lin on past projects, will also contribute to the project. The project’s groundbreaking is planned for later this year, with completion anticipated in 2012.
A work at the center of historic Newport
“I am excited and honored to be creating a work at the center of historic Newport," Lin said. "My interest in time, memory and history originally drew me to learn about the rich history of this area and discover the structures that
Lin added that this design is about sharing spaces with the public, a theme that echoes Duke's pioneering work in rescuing historic buildings and renovating and preserving them for public use. "The foundations are created from reclaimed stones that were once part of historic homes," Lin said. "In doing so, we are building foundations that represent home, family and community through history. I imagine it to be a place where people gather together and also can reflect upon how Doris Duke helped preserve so many of these significant historic houses."
Maintaining the vision of Doris Duke
Lin will design a fountain for the project, and new tree plantings were chosen based on native species that historically grew in Newport. The height of the trees is designed to allow a view across the park, as well as of the steeple of historic Trinity Church, a city landmark which sits at the top of the park.
The site for “The Meeting Room” was chosen because Queen Anne Square represents one of Doris Duke’s most significant public works in Newport. Undertaken between 1976 and 1978, Queen Anne Square was a collaboration between Doris Duke and Trinity Church to create a town green in what had been a congested retail, commercial and warehouse area. The original creation of this public park paid tribute to Newport’s history through the re-location of 18th century houses and increased visibility for Trinity Church. Completed with funds from the NRF and Doris Duke, the upper area was deeded to Trinity Church while the lower portion was deeded to the city as a gift. The current project represents a second gift to Newport, with private funds being raised by the Doris Duke Monument Foundation (DDMF) to cover all aspects of the project, including long term maintenance.
For the love of Newport
“Doris Duke loved the city of Newport, Rhode Island,” said her friend and DDMF President Mrs. Robert H. Charles. “During the architecturally bleak era of the ‘60s and ‘70s, she saw what needed to be done and poured her passions and resources into restoring a measure of dignity into its cobbled streets and neglected buildings. Newport has benefited immeasurably from Doris’s philanthropic efforts, which have literally changed the face of the city. Honoring her contributions with a tangible monument is long overdue. This project is preservation for the future.”
Recently formed as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the Doris Duke Monument Foundation (DDMF), is an offshoot of the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF), currently drawing from the NRF’s board of trustees and its staff. It is raising funds for the project at Queen Anne Square through a combination of private and foundation support for both construction and future maintenance. Major gifts have come from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, van Beuren Charitable Foundation and the Newport Restoration Foundation. Private donations have also been made and further gifts will be welcomed. Over two-thirds of the fundraising goal has already been achieved. The DDMF will become a self-supporting friends’ organization which will oversee maintenance and administration for the park in the future.
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