We write about whether the Rockport Harbor Hotel’s design is in harmony with the village of Rockport.
Our firm, Scholz & Barclay Architecture, has years of experience renovating and adding to historic buildings in Maine, including the Camden Public Library, the Belfast Free Library and Rockport’s iconic Beechnut Stone House, winning state and national awards. Prices.
Meg was formerly the chairman of the Camden Historic Resources Committee and is currently a member of Camden’s Design Team. Our opinion on this project is professional and based on experience with the aesthetic and cultural problems caused by design changes in a historical context.
The new hotel is located in the Rockport Historic District, which was registered on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The hotel’s proximity to the Martin and Shepherd blocks means that applying the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation is appropriate when evaluating the design.
The Minister of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Illustrated Guidelines for the Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings recommends:
- New additions must be designed and constructed so that the character-defining features of the historic building are not radically altered, obscured, damaged or destroyed during the rehabilitation process. New design should always be clearly differentiated so that the addition does not appear to be part of the historical source.
- In view of the built-on exterior extension, both in terms of the new use and the appearance of other buildings in the historic district or neighbourhood. The design for the new work can be contemporary or refer to design motifs from the historic building. In either case, it should always be clearly distinguished from the historic building and compatible in terms of mass, materials, relationship of solids to voids and color.
The Minister of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Illustrated Guidelines for the Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings specifically advises against:
- Duplicating the exact form, material, style and detailing of the historic building in the new acquisition, so that the new work appears to be part of the historic building.
- Mimicking a historic style or period of architecture in new additions, especially for contemporary uses such as drive-in banks or garages.
- By using the same wall plane, roofline, cornice height, materials, siding or window type to make additions appear as if they are part of the historic building.
Based on Secretary of the Interior standards, a fill structure between the two historic brick blocks in the Rockport Historic District could have had a modern facade, sharply delineating the new from the historic.
The hotel design has chosen the alternative path to delineation from the historical fabric. While the design references adjacent historic design motifs (brick skin, decorative cornice, granite lintels, arches and a slate mansard roof), it uses strong visual cues such as setbacks from the street face of the historic structures, changes in cornice and roof heights, balconies and contemporary windows. to distinguish it from its historic neighbors.
Our opinion is that the hotel design meets the national standard for historic building additions while maintaining the beauty of Rockport’s historic commercial buildings. Claims to the contrary are based on personal opinion and not on an objective standard.
Meg Barclay and John Scholz live in Camden