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This case study explores the restoration of the Rough Point Museum in Newport, Rhode Island. Embark on a journey of preservation and innovation as DBVW Architects and Existing Conditions come together to breathe new life into this architectural masterpiece, ensuring its legacy endures for generations.

3D BIM Model, 2D Floor Plan, 3D Point Cloud, 2D Exterior Elevation

 

 

Watch the case study video below to witness firsthand the transformation of the Rough Point Museum, a testament to our unwavering commitment to historical preservation and architectural excellence.

 

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History of Rough Point Museum

The historic landmark in Newport, Rhode Island, Rough Point, has a storied history that began in 1891. Commissioned for Frederick Vanderbilt, the mansion's grandeur and scenic location overlooking the Atlantic Ocean contributed to its allure. In 1922, the property underwent a significant transition when it was acquired by the Duke family. James Buchanan Duke, a prominent businessman, left Rough Point to his 12-year-old daughter, Doris Duke, upon his passing in 1925.

Rough Point Under Renovation, 1923

Rough Point Under Renovation, 1923 (Courtesy of The Preservation Society of Newport County)

Doris Duke's impact on the mansion's history cannot be overstated. Although she did not extensively utilize Rough Point in her early years of ownership, she later took a keen interest in preserving historic architecture and founded the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) in the late 1960s. Rough Point became a cornerstone of NRF's efforts to safeguard early historic houses in the Newport area.

Doris Duke at Duke Farms circa, 1915

Doris Duke at Duke Farms circa, 1915 (Courtesy of the Doris Duke Foundation)

After Doris Duke's passing in 1993, NRF inherited Rough Point Mansion and opened it to the public as a museum in 2001. Today, visitors can step back in time, exploring the rooms as Doris Duke left them in 1993, experiencing the opulent lifestyle of this philanthropic heiress.

 

Partnering with DBVW Architects

Existing Conditions and DBVW Architects have built an enduring partnership that spans an impressive 25 years. This collaboration began when both companies were in their youth, and Existing Conditions' expertise in providing accurate building measurements and drawings proved invaluable to DBVW Architects. By entrusting Existing Conditions with these crucial tasks, DBVW Architects could focus on their core strengths in architecture, leading to a collaborative and productive relationship.

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Exterior elevation of the Rough Point Museum

Exterior elevation of the Rough Point Museum

Over the years, Existing Conditions has prided itself on utilizing the most up-to-date laser scanning technology, providing DBVW Architects with high-quality, accurate as-built drawings and 3D Revit models. The integration of 3D laser scanning and drone surveys has been instrumental in enhancing the precision and efficiency of their projects. This commitment to staying up-to-date with the latest technologies has further strengthened the bond between the two companies, solidifying their status as industry leaders in architectural preservation.

A project that exemplifies their successful partnership is the restoration of the historic Rough Point Museum. Through multiple visits and seamless data integration, Existing Conditions supported DBVW Architects in preserving the building's rich historical significance. Their ability to deliver superior results and adhere to DBVW Architects' specific standards has earned them a reputation for excellence in the field. As they continue to collaborate and innovate together, the future looks promising for both Existing Conditions and DBVW Architects in their shared mission of preserving architectural heritage. 

 

Scope of Work Evolution

The scope of work for the transformative Rough Point Museum restoration project evolved over three distinct phases, each with different deliverables. Starting on March 5, 2019, phase one concentrated on capturing the building's exterior details, culminating in completing the exterior scans by July 17, 2019. By August 21, 2019, this phase wrapped up, resulting in highly accurate exterior elevations and roof plans as the project's foundational elements.

3D Revit model of the Rough Point Gate

3D Revit model of the Rough Point Gate

Shifting to phase two on February 21, 2020, the spotlight turned to the Rough Point Gate. This encompassed the meticulous documentation of floor plans and exterior elevations. By April 6, 2020, this phase concluded, adding comprehensive insights and tangible plans to the project's growing repository.

Lastly, in phase three, beginning on October 7, 2020, Existing Conditions ventured into the museum's interior, focusing on detailed Floor Plans. Completing the interior scans on October 26, 2020, marked a crucial achievement, underscoring the team's commitment to providing the best drawings to our clients. By November 16, 2020, phase 3 concluded, solidifying a visionary endeavor that harmonized restoration with technology to re-establish the Rough Point Museum's legacy.

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The Challenge

The restoration of the Rough Point Museum presented a unique set of challenges that encompassed both the intricate nature of historical preservation and the complexities of adapting cutting-edge technology to this venerable structure. One of the central challenges revolved around the need for the utmost accuracy in capturing and recreating the building's original features. The historical significance of the mansion demands that every architectural detail be faithfully preserved, requiring the restoration teams to use modern surveying technologies to preserve the building's authentic character.

Laser scan data with building information model (BIM) overlay

Laser scan data with building information model (BIM) overlay

The teams had to navigate a delicate equilibrium between structural rehabilitation and responsible historical preservation, to ensure that the building's essential elements are both conserved and utilized effectively for the future. This multifaceted approach required a high level of expertise to harmonize the practical demands of the restoration process with the long-term vision for the building's continued existence.

Furthermore, the operational challenges of working on a historical site like Rough Point Museum cannot be underestimated. Restricted access to certain areas, potential disturbance to fragile structures, and the need to accommodate public visitation all demand a carefully orchestrated approach. The team needed to adhere to stringent regulations and protocols to ensure the safety of both the structure and its visitors, while still achieving the project's preservation and restoration objectives. Balancing these challenges, from historical accuracy to modern technology integration and logistical considerations, underscores the intricate nature of the Rough Point Museum restoration project.

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The Solution

In close collaboration with DBVW Architects, Existing Conditions devised a balanced approach to avoid any setbacks or disruptions. Advanced surveying techniques, such as 3D laser scanning, streamlined the restoration while preserving intricate architectural details. Skillfully navigating operational complexities, Existing Conditions ensured minimal disruption, demonstrating their commitment to excellence and architectural integrity.

Rough Point Museum undergoing renovations (Image courtesy of DBVW Architects)

Rough Point Museum undergoing renovations (Image courtesy of DBVW Architects)

Leveraging our proficiency in 3D laser scanning and drone surveys, Existing Conditions effortlessly addressed the unique challenges posed by scanning the Rough Point Museum. Our team documented the intricate architectural elements of the mansion, resulting in an unparalleled level of precision.

 

How This Project Was Unique

The Rough Point Museum restoration stands out as an intricate and historically significant project. What sets it apart is the confluence of factors that make its restoration a complex and compelling challenge. First and foremost, the historical pedigree of the Rough Point Mansion, once owned by prominent figures like Frederick Vanderbilt and later Doris Duke, infuses it with a rich tapestry of cultural heritage. This historical depth demands an exceptional level of accuracy in the restoration process, ensuring that every architectural detail is preserved.

Furthermore, the dual-fold nature of the project, encompassing both holistic building envelope restoration and the creation of a strategic stewardship plan, adds a distinctive layer of complexity. This dual focus necessitates a comprehensive approach that simultaneously addresses structural and preservation aspects, while also providing a roadmap for responsible future care.

Rough Point Museum exterior scan data

Another facet that underscores the uniqueness of the project is the integration of advanced technology by Existing Conditions and the collaborative efforts with DBVW Architects. Utilizing 3D laser scanning, and other innovative techniques, the project attains a level of precision and detail that aligns with the building's historical significance. The seamless combination of cutting-edge tools with deep historical research enables the teams to unravel the building's evolution and tailor their restoration efforts accordingly.

Rough Point Museum Case Study eBook

Discover more about how laser scanning technology and long-lasting partnerships can help restore your historical projects by exploring our downloadable eBook here.

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Where Does This Project Stand Now?

Today, the Rough Point Museum restoration project stands at a pivotal juncture, with significant strides made in the exterior restoration phase. The diligent efforts of DBVW Architects and Existing Conditions have propelled the project to the cusp of completing this crucial stage. The in-depth restoration of the building's exterior, including the replacement of the slate roof and detailed repair of masonry walls, underscores the dedication and expertise invested in revitalizing this historic gem. 

With Phase I of the exterior nearing completion, attention is now turning towards detailed elements of the Trumbauer Wing’s restoration and interior restoration work, which holds the promise of addressing damages accrued over decades of exposure and water infiltration and increasing public access to the site. The project's trajectory heralds a comprehensive rejuvenation, securing the legacy of the Rough Point Museum for generations to come.

Aerial drone media of the exterior of Rough Point Museum

Aerial drone media of the exterior of Rough Point Museum

The Rough Point Museum itself, under the guardianship of the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF), continues to stand as a beacon of historical significance and cultural heritage. Welcoming visitors since its public opening in 2001, the mansion has provided a unique window into the past, allowing guests to traverse its storied halls and immerse themselves in a different era. 

As the restoration project unfolds, the Rough Point Museum remains an architectural marvel, preserving the essence of its historical narrative while poised to embark on a transformative journey toward renewed authenticity. The project's current status attests to the dedication of preservationists, architects, and restoration experts alike, united in their commitment to safeguarding the past and ensuring a future for this historical treasure.

The exterior of the Rough Point Museum (Image courtesy of DBVW Architects)

The exterior of the Rough Point Museum (Image courtesy of DBVW Architects)

DBVW Architects emerges as a prominent and revered entity within the architectural domain, distinguished for their exceptional prowess in the realm of historic preservation and restoration. With a legacy spanning numerous years, DBVW Architects have etched their name as a beacon of expertise in safeguarding architectural heritage. Nealia Morrison, a driving force within DBVW Architects, exemplifies this dedication. Her role as a principal and preservation specialist showcases her deep-seated commitment to architectural heritage.

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About the Client DBVW Architects

DBVW Architects emerges as a prominent and revered entity within the architectural domain, distinguished for their exceptional prowess in the realm of historic preservation and restoration. With a legacy spanning numerous years, DBVW Architects have etched their name as a beacon of expertise in safeguarding architectural heritage. Nealia Morrison, a driving force within DBVW Architects, exemplifies this dedication. Her role as a principal and preservation specialist showcases her deep-seated commitment to architectural heritage. 

 

Nealia-Headshot_19-0619-1

Nealia Morrison, Senior Associate at DBVW Architects (Image courtesy of DBVW Architects)

At the core of their distinction lies a profound appreciation for historical authenticity, adeptly blending traditional values with modern sensibilities. Their ability to navigate complexities and channel history into functional spaces sets them apart. Fueled by collaboration, they ensure each restoration venture harmonizes heritage and innovation, showcasing meticulous attention to detail and a genuine passion for preservation.

“In the past, I think we've all done hand measuring, but we needed the level of detail that was provided in the point cloud. The laser scan really created the foundation of all of our documentation that we were able to supplement and do specific really targeted assessments.” - Nealia Morrison, Senior Associate at DBVW Architects

With over 25 years of experience working on historical buildings and partnering with the best architects nationwide, let us be an extension of your team and embark on a journey of collaboration, partnership, and success.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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