Salve Regina University
Original Architect: Richard Morris Hunt
National Register of Historic Places
Richard Morris Hunt
Ochre Court was designed in 1888 by one of the most significant architects of the nineteenth century, Richard Morris Hunt. Hunt designed the elaborate limestone French Renaissance mansion for Ogden Goelet, a wealthy real estate developer. The mansion is considered to be one of Hunt’s greatest achievements and contains many architectural elements found in Hunt’s following commission, The Biltmore Estate in Ashville, North Carolina. The Goelet family used the house as a summer residence until 1947, when it was donated to the Catholic Diocese of Providence. The mansion has been used as the central administration building for Salve Regina University for over the past fifty years.
The University retained MCWB to prepare a preservation plan as the first phase consisting of a conditions survey of the exterior. The survey identified the problems and made recommendations for repairs. The scope of construction work included complete replacement of all slate roofing, copper valleys & gutter flashings, decorative copper dormers, finials, and the upper built-up flat roof. It also included complete cleaning of the limestone facades, stone repair and replacement, window and door restoration, painting, restoration of decorative bronze handrails, and replacement of the stone terraces.
The conditions survey included recommendations for the complete replacement of the sweeping decorative terraces along the south and east (ocean) sides of the mansion. This work was completed over a two year period. The work of the terraces included replacement of all limestone pavers, new limestone moldings and walls around the entire perimeter, and new hand-carved Gothic balustrade elements. The substrate concrete decking was repaired, waterproofed and fitted with a new drainage system during the work. Extensive Dutchman and epoxy repairs were performed at the balustrade in an effort to retain as much original stonework as possible, and all work employed lime rich mortars to ensure greater longevity.