Audrain Building, Bellevue Avenue RI

The Audrain Building, located along Bellevue Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island, was designed by well-known architect Bruce Price. Price was born in Cumberland, Maryland in 1845. He was responsible for the design and layout of Tuxedo Park, which is a vacation community in New York. The houses he designed for that community inspired and influenced the works of numerous architects including one of the giants of the world of architecture Frank Lloyd Wright.

Apart from the Audrain Building, Price also designed the Sterling Homestead, the Banff Spring Hotel, the Welch Hall in Yale University, the Chateau Frontenac, the American Surety Building, the Georgian Court and the Northfield Chateau. Price’s Audrain Building is one of four buildings within Newport that give the central block a unique identity. The commercial building is two-stories high and has six arched shop fronts that extend to the second floor. All the arches are trimmed with the same white tile work, which contrasts beautifully with the Audrain Building’s deep red brick veneer. The roofline is also made distinct with an ornate white cornice. The window frames are painted in lively green, and in juxtaposition with the red brickwork, they give the entire building a cheerful feel. The three other architecturally notable buildings in Newport’s central block are the Newport Casino designed by McKim, Mead, and White; the Travers Block designed by Richard Morris Hunt; and the King Block designed by Perkins and Betton.

The Newport Casino, also located along Bellevue Avenue, is the tourist’s dream complex. It has, of course, the Casino, which includes several shops, offices and the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The Newport Casino complex also has the Horseshoe Piazza and Court, the Bill Talbert Stadium, the Court Tennis Building, a theater, a handful of indoor tennis courts and outdoor grass tennis courts, which are used by the National Court Tennis Club, the Newport Casino Indoor Racquet Club and the Newport Casino Lawn Tennis Club. Despite its name, the Newport Casino is not a venue for public gambling.

Aside from the Audrain Building and the Newport Casino, there are many structures in Newport that are worth taking a look at, such as the charming Georgian colonial homes and the ostentatious Gilded Age mansions, which mimicked the Renaissance, Romanesque and Rococo-inspired castles of Europe. One of the Gilded Age mansions in the stunning Marble House (also designed by Richard Morris Hunt). It has been converted into a museum that is owned and operated by the Preservation Society.

Many of the colonial homes and mansions in Newport were restored during the late 20th century through the efforts of local resident Doris Duke and through Operation Clapboard. This strong drive towards restoration has given the city a very distinct and unique character, which many urban planners and designers can only aspire for.