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A 1979 bequest of 84 acres of the Rockefeller family estate to The National Trust for Historic Preservation resulted in a museum and conference center to advance the philanthropic mission of The Rockefeller Brothers Fund. The property includes the family house, Kykuit, built in 1909 and 1913; the Orangerie of 1908; and the Coach Barn of 1902 and 1913. Newman restored Kykuit to serve as a museum of the family’s history and provide guest rooms for conferences, and renovated the family coach barn as an international conference center with guest rooms.
The family house required major infrastructure changes to enable it to accommodate group tours of the first floor and art gallery, and provide guest rooms on upper floors. The underlying preservation goal was to replace heating, plumbing, life safety, and electrical systems without changing the original fabric of the 30,000-square-foot house. Moreover, all changes were designed to be reversible. New furniture selections parallel the spirit of the original design, while the refurbished picture moldings, door and window trim sustain it.
The barn, originally a three-story building with horse stables, an automobile garage, workshop, and various maintenance and staff rooms, now accommodates two conference rooms, a lecture hall, dining room, catering kitchen and flexible space adjacent to the dining room. A series of brick-vaulted spaces with large windows and masonry walls was retained, and a new loggia was created opposite the entrance for use as an informal gathering place, staff offices, bathrooms and mechanical spaces. The first floor, housing the family’s tack, carriage, and automobile collections, was left intact as museum space open to the public. A second-floor renovation provided guest rooms for conferees.