Centerbrook Receives Interiors Design Award

Published on February 11th, 2011

Centerbrook Architects has received a prestigious design award for its restoration of the historic interiors of the Ocean House, a resort hotel in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. The 2010 Contract Magazine Award was announced on January 28 at Cipriani’s in Manhattan with more than 500 members of the international design community in attendance.

Jefferson B. Riley, FAIA, Centerbrook partner in charge of the project, was joined by his client, Charles Royce and his wife Deborah, in accepting the award. Centerbrook previously had garnered a design award for the Ocean House from the American Institute of Architects Rhode Island chapter. Meg Lyons, AIA, and Peter Majewski, AIA, were Project Managers for Centerbrook.

Centerbrook was hired in 2006 to assess the dilapidated 1868 hotel, and soon thereafter determined that it had to be demolished and replicated in order to be saved. The decision was then made to faithfully recreate the architecturally significant “historic kernel” as it had existed circa 1908, the hotel’s heyday. In addition, two new wings, replacing an incongruous, barn-like appendage hastily added on in 1930s, now extend out from the freshly restored historic kernel and its original Mansard roofed tower.

Inside and out, many historical architectural elements, harvested from the original building, were restored and reinserted into the new building, including the reception desk, main lobby fireplace made of beach stones, the ornamented oak elevator cab, a phone booth, the iconic Ocean House sign, fan-light doors, an ornate mantel piece, mahogany balustrades, Victorian light fixtures, and an exterior balcony ensemble with Palladian window over the front door. Many other items, such as trim and paneling, were precisely documented so they could be exactly replicated.

The new 156,000-square-foot building rests on the same footprint as the original hotel yet presents a smaller scaled profile to its neighbors. The design retains the Victorian charm of the building while transforming the hotel into a full-service, year-round luxury resort and residential property. Opened last summer, the new Ocean House offers fine dining in its replicated main dining room, new decks with broad ocean views, a bar with casual dining, an indoor lap pool that “flows” to an outdoor water feature, banquet halls, a private club room, a corporate board room, a spa and fitness center, 49 hotel rooms, 23 residences, underground parking, and an international croquet court.