Column: No need for preservation veto on 195

Route 195 land hosts official delegation in April 2013. (Journal archives)

Route 195 land hosts official delegation in April 2013. (Journal archives)

Should Rhode Island’s state office of historic preservation have a veto over the design of buildings proposed for the land I once described as a “sandbox for the modernists”?

Yes, it should. But no, it shouldn’t.

A memorandum of agreement with the apparent force of law, written in 2000, says new buildings on the vacant land overseen by the Route 195 Redevelopment District Commission must be carried out “under the review and approval” of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission.

So, yes, this means that RIHPHC has a veto; but no, it won’t actually use the veto.

[To read the rest of this column, please visit The Providence Journal.]

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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