Known for its resplendent collection of Gilded Age seaside mansions and elegant Victorian villas, Newport, Rhode Island is nothing if not architecturally boastful—and locals want to keep it that way. Hence the uproar over an construction project threatening the historic fabric of one Coggeshall Avenue, which runs through the heart of the community, from downtown to the sea.
Nicknamed “the spaceship” because of its rounded central tower and radial design, the home is offending locals right and left for its massive size (13,000 square feet on a street of cottages and historic homes) and such unconventional elements as a flat roof, rounded entryway, and lack of shutters. “We’re just baffled by why somebody would want to inflict themselves on Newport in such a way as this,” local architect Ross Cann told the New York Times.
According to Newport Daily News, the home’s owners, Gina and James McCaffrey, worked with architect Andrew DiGiammo to create a home that appropriately references traditional New England architecture with a facade of cedar shingles and windows topped by decorative grilles.
Much to the dismay of its opponents, the home’s design is perfectly legal and fits within local zoning regulations. Its height is just beneath the 30-foot limit, its 15 percent lot coverage is below the 20 percent coverage cap, and the property falls outside of Newport’s protected historic district. In short: There’s nothing stopping the building from being completed.