Redesign this awful garage!

Proposed garage at South Street Landing, in Providence. (

Proposed garage at South Street Landing, in Providence. (

The proposed garage above is part of a project that is to feature a Rhode Island state nursing school housed in a Beaux-Arts former electric plant. South Street Landing, as the project is known, will also have offices for Brown University, housed supposedly in the old electric plant, and a dormitory that will also be newly built, apparently of a design quite as appalling as the garage above.

South Street Power Station. (

South Street Power Station. (

Power station design in earlier rehab project. (

Power station design in earlier rehab project. (

Why the state and Brown have not proposed a garage and dormitory that would fit into a lovely setting already created by the electric plant is a question that boggles the mind. One of the very few competitive advantages Rhode Island can boast of is its beauty – and yet it keeps fostering a modernist development strategy that has already eroded its beauty for decades.

More so than any other state, leaders in Rhode Island are close enough to the population to have an idea what it thinks. But nobody with power and authority in government or business here seems to care a fig for what the public thinks of their deteriorating built environment.

It is almost as if our leaders think that poking citizens in the eye with a stick will create jobs.

Go figure!

Dormitory, garage and nursing school, as envisioned, at South Street Landing project.. (

Dormitory, garage and nursing school, as envisioned, at South Street Landing project.. (

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.
This entry was posted in Architecture, Art and design, Development, Preservation, Providence, Urbanism and planning and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Redesign this awful garage!

  1. I look at this and ask – “Where am I?” – Architecture should not make one no longer recognize the place they know.


  2. barry says:

    The blog Greater City Providence reports the developer is asking to get out of having to put retail at the street level. Perhaps one benefit is that those few actually walking despite this discouragement of any street life will try to walk the resulting boring block so fast they won’t have time to notice the garage design. Neither will motorists who park inside the garage and won’t have to see it. Perhaps its clever way to further discourage transit use by having anyone coming to the project by bus (if any, no buses in either rendering) having to actually fully see what was built.


  3. Anonymous says:

    Driving on 95 toward Warren yesterday, I was saddened once again that my view toward College Hill was almost blocked by the mall. Coming around the curve to 195, I looked across town and was stunned by how the skyline is now dominated by PoMo buildings. I could not find the old classics anymore.


  4. Peter Van Erp says:

    No s#!+


  5. Pingback: Lincoln Center blowback | Architecture Here and There

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