Estes/Twombly Architects’ knack for harmonizing historical and modern architectural forms is very much on display in the firm’s Newport, R.I., office, the former sanctuary of a 1933 brick church. During a renovation several years ago, says partner Peter Twombly, “we took out everything that wasn’t original fabric.” Into the spare, wainscoted room the firm then introduced gently contrasting contemporary elements: a birch-clad kitchen, a translucent, cedar-framed conference room, and birch-and-steel workstations.
Unfinished steel I-beams and tie rods restrain a roof structure that had begun to spread, and the material repeats in exposed HVAC ducts, plan-storage cabinets, and the conference room's barn-door hardware. Industrial lighting fixtures hang from the 19-foot ceiling, supplemented by banks of north-facing skylights. Underscoring the balance of past and present, the conference room's new windows look out on the still-operational Cardines Field, one of the country's earliest baseball diamonds.