Column: Roses and raspberries for 2013


From amid the doldrums of economic lethargy, good news and potential roses for 2013 arose last year in downtown Providence, where the Arcade is being redeveloped, as are four buildings once owned by Providence Gas.

Dr. Downtown suspects that readers with good memories may recognize the above paragraph as the first sentence from last year’s dispensation of roses and raspberries. Not a lot has changed. Well, let’s go to the tape:

• A rose to Evan Granoff for reopening the Arcade just in the nick of time, since he closed it late in 2008, to avoid missing the Five-Year Rule. Like the five-second rule that lets you eat dropped food if it has been on the floor no more than five seconds, the Five-Year Rule lets the Arcade resume its landmark status as the oldest (not the first) indoor mall in America. Most of the 17 shops and eateries have opened; the Granoff rose will bloom when new downtowners fill the 48 micro lofts on the upper floors. That is expected at . . . any moment.

Please read the rest of this column at The Providence Journal.

[Editor’s note: New readers of this new blog, successor to my blog at the Journal, should be aware that “Dr. Downtown” is the alter ego of the author of this blog, filling in when matters of architecture and design call for comment backed up by special expertise. He occasionally hosts an architectural advice column. The yearly dispensation of “roses and raspberries” is his annual moment in the spotlight.]

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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