Brick often finds itself in the dog house.
Long ago in Providence, architectural historian and local preservation heroine Antoinette Downing, sitting on the design review panel of the Capital Center Commission, is said to have sniggered at one of the oldest and most distinguished building materials in the history of architecture.
In an interview with The Journal’s John Castellucci on Feb. 26, 1996, she was described by fellow panel member and Rhode Island School of Design architecture professor Derek Bradford as whispering to him, “If I see another red brick building, I think I’ll be sick.”
Downing’s disdain for red brick strikes me as akin to the supposed disdain of the postwar American public for aging Victorian architecture. It was disliked by modern architects, who in their egoism now claim the world agreed.
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