#City & Town Planning
Newport City Council, Newport, RI
United States of America

Newport needs alternatives to Maya Lin design for Queen Anne Square
Article written by Laurence S. Cutler, AIA, RIBA, chairman and CEO, National Museum of American Illustration, Newport.
Newport Daily News October 15th 2011


The Maya Lin design for Queen Anne Square essentially comprises four pseudo-foundations and a fountain. The proposed foundation structures were inspired by buildings that once existed on the site. The project is envisaged by the Newport Restoration Foundation and the Doris Duke Monument Foundation as a tribute to Ms. Duke.

From Drop Box

Ironically, Maya Lin suggests installing fake foundations to pay tribute to Ms. Duke, who removed real foundations of undistinguished buildings for lack of historical importance to create a park which she gave to Newport.

Accordingly, the Lin design concept is ill-conceived, preposterous and should end, full stop. Despite minor changes after a recent public presentation, the Lin team is not dealing with the essential issue: Their scheme is a very bad idea without a sensible design.

Clearly, a different design and master plan are needed. The reality is the Newport Restoration Foundation plan is a gift horse which the city may have to reject, unless a more suitable alternative is designed with a realistic budget.

I invited Paul Spreiregen to visit the site and search for other ideas and ways to find a solution for this dilemma given the current design, and he accepted.
Paul has served as a design competition professional adviser for many high-profile projects, including the best known, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. An internationally recognized expert on design competitions and their administration, he picked the Vietnam memorial jury and ran the competition that selected Maya Lin’s design.

Mr. Spreiregen has served as professional adviser for many other significant competitions and complicated projects such as the $1 billion World Bank headquarters among many landscape and park design projects.

This proposed design/artwork by Ms. Lin faces heavy opposition, including the Citizens for Queen Anne Square Park, which in addition to actively protesting is now calling for a ballot referendum. Ms. Lin’s client for this project is the Newport Restoration Foundation, but the landowners are taxpaying citizens — we are the ultimate client, or at least one had thought so. It seems the community is carefully being culled from the process.

In fact, if the agreement anticipated between the city and the Newport Restoration Foundation/ Doris Duke Monument Foundation is signed in respect to the proposed gift as is, there will be no further public input and no City Council vote needed. It will be a fait accompli and control of the site will be ceded — the very opposite of the gift in the first place.

Laurence S. Cutler, AIA, RIBA, chairman and CEO, National Museum of American Illustration, Newport

Petition: Stop the Maya Lin - Queen Anne Square redesign project now! We will print and present to the Newport City Council prior to the vote on December 14th.

Block the Newport Restoration Foundation, the Doris Duke Monument Foundation, & The Newport, RI City Council from proceeding without full support of the citizens of Newport, RI.

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The Stop the Maya Lin Design - Queen Anne Square Project petition to Newport City Council, Newport, RI was written by Chip Leakas and is in the category City & Town Planning at GoPetition.