Excellence Award in Landscape Design for Historic Chapel Grille
(RI Nursery and Landscape Association, RINLA, Awards Local Landscape Architect First Place for Commercial Design of the Chapel Grille in Cranston, RI)

The Chapel Grille at Dusk.
Date: January 17th, 2013
At the Annual Winter Meeting of the RI Nursery and Landscape Association (RINLA), held in the new Center for Biological and Life Sciences Building (CBLS) on the URI Campus, this association of professionals from all aspects of the green industry, awarded Alan Ahlstrom, a Registered Landscape Architect and Certified Horticulturist, First Place in Commercial Design for his work on the New Chapel Grille Restaurant owned and built by Alfred Carpionato.  The judges noted that the once pastoral landscape of the Old “Bad Boy’s” school presented a challenge due to the severe changes in elevation and the utilitarian aspects of the newly constructed Chapel View mixed-use development. Mr. Ahlstrom met these challenges with creativity and artistic flair for stone and plants.
Project Background:
The Chapel is one of the four remnants of the Sockanosset Boys Training School, which closed in the early 1990s.   The boy’s school, which was part of the Howard Reservation, represents the State of Rhode Island’s first attempt to provide state-wide social services through public institutions.  The State Board of Charities and Corrections established this “State Farm” in 1866, which combined the Westcott and Howard Farms.  This pastoral land in Cranston, outside the Providence city limits, was set to combine a House of Correction, an Asylum for the Criminally Insane, and a State Alms House.  The thinking at the time was that the chaos of the urban industrial environment was the root cause of many of the social ills of the time.

The Chapel and the Infirmary wings (destroyed by fire, 1970’s) were established in 1891 to provide healing of the Body and Spirit.  The stone structure, with a wood porch, was

designed by Stone, Carpenter and Wilson Architects and was seen to be the shining jewel in the Howard complex.  The School closed in the early 1990’s and subsequently fell into rapid decline and disrepair.
Today, the site is undergoing major redevelopment incorporating the three remaining Dormitories from the boy’s school and The Chapel.  Currently under partial completion, it is an upscale, mixed-use development combining residential, office, retail, and restaurant space with the Chapel earmarked for a gourmet trattoria, Chapel Grille.

The Chapel Grille immediately after it’s opening in December of 2011

Alan Ahlstrom and Havenwood, llc Landscape Architecture were brought into the project by Carpionato Properties back in 2006 in order to provide  a refined eye for materials and detail which would elevate the Landscape design standards and assist with the Paving, Planting and Lighting of the entire Chapel View development. “The Stone Chapel (one of the four preserved buildings on site) was the gem of whole development from the beginning. The old context of the pastoral farm landscape that it sat upon was about to be completely altered but, we needed to keep this diamond at the center - only we needed to polish it, and set it in a new setting in order for it to truly shine. “, said Alan Ahlstrom with regards to the project.  “And that is precisely what it has become.  I am so glad to have my work recognized by my fellow professionals in the green industry and am especially grateful to Alfred Carpionato for bringing me in on the project.”

The Chapel Grille opened its doors in December, 2011 and has been flourishing in its first year.  As it succeeds, the final portions of the gardens are being completed. 

This is award marks the second time Alan Ahlstrom and Havenwood, LLC has been presented an Excellence in Design award by RINLA, the first being in 2008 for Residential Design.

Alfresco Dining in the forecourt this past spring , 2012

For Further information, schedule an Interview or for additional photos please call Alan Ahlstrom at 401.727.9958 via e-mail at a.ahlstrom@havenwoodllc.com  or at the web Site www.havenwoodllc.com .

Additional information can be acquired through the following organizations.
RINLA at www.rinla.com
Carpionato Properties at www.Carpionatogroup.com
The Chapel Grille at http://www.chapelgrilleri.com/index.cfm/page/History/pid/10401
City of Cranston  http://www.cranstonri.com/generalpage.php?page=112
RIHPC –  http://www.preservation.ri.gov/  or from it’s publication

Recently, Mr Ahlstrom, RLA, CH, and Havenwood, llc joined the design team of Steven Greenleaf, Architect and Tom Viall, Designer as the Principal Landscape Architect for the Station Nightclub Fire Memorial.














  "A garden is an extension of ourselves. It is the place where we feel comfort and joy, where we feel the beauty the earth provides."
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