Long shots of Providence

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Looking east down Washington Street into downtown. The Regency apartments, a product of 1960s urban renewal, don’t play as big a role in the city view from most perspectives.

Everyone’s filling out their wuddayacallits, the basketball thingies. President Obama did it. Well, Providence is hosting the regional NCAA semifinals, or did so this past weekend, whatever. I’m not sure how the Friars made out, but here are some even longer shots of Providence, which I took on Sunday morning on the way home with my son Billy from lunch at Wes’s Rib House, on the West Side. Yum! Anyhow, I took a picture each time I had to stop the car for a red light or whatever, and here are some of the results.

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Closer in, you see just a few of the city’s profusion spires, domes and cupolas, and the Biltmore hotel, of brick, that blocks out the Regency in crucial views from the east.

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Even closer. Ah, that’s better. I was so excited to find the Regency edged out of my frame that my camera must’ve shook a little bit, hence the blur. It wasn’t that I was shooting while driving.

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Heading east on Weybosset you see one of the best jumbles of architecture in the city. The Industrial Trust (“Superman”) Building, left of center, is still unoccupied. Any takers?

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Further east on Weybosset is the curvature of street that won my heart and sold me on living in Providence (in 1984, plus a job offer). The Arcade, America’s oldest mall, is left of center.

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Weybosset meets Westminster just before the Providence River. Beyond, at the base of College Hill, is RISD’s waterfront campus, including the 2007 addition by Rafael Moneo to the RISD Museum.

 

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Not a great shot of the Providence County Superior Court, whose design so enthralled H.P. Lovecraft, but this is the view just before you cross the Providence River to College Hill.

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To the left before chugging uphill: The city and state gave RISD a free waterfront campus, and in return it gave the city Moneo’s addition, which is like a graffartist defacing a da Vinci.

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Up College Street toward Brown between delightful brick buildings, RISD’s curving College Edifice at left, and at right the courthouse, possibly the world’s largest Georgian building.

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After a left onto Benefit Street you can look back down Angell Street into the city between the nation’s first Baptist church, left, and the buildings of the Providence Art Club, right.

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Some of the Colonials that line much of the west side of the northern end of Benefit Street, “Providence’s Mile of History,” with almost every variety of traditional building.

 

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Looking down Church Street, you see the R.I. State House (1900, McKim Mead & White) in the distance. The red house at right is where Edgar Allan Poe met Sarah Whitman.

I did not try to sanitize these shots by excluding all modernist buildings. But that would be amazingly easy for a discerning and tasteful photographer to do in Providence, which is why it’s such a beautiful city.

About David Brussat

For a living, I edit the writing of some of the nation's leading architects, urbanists and design theorists. 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. My freelance writing and editing on that topic and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and 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 invest your prose with even more style and clarity, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, 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, Architecture History, Art and design, Landscape Architecture, Photography, Preservation, Providence, Rhode Island, Urbanism and planning and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Long shots of Providence

  1. iheartrhody says:

    Just discovered your blog, and am really enjoying it. These are some great shots that show the diversity of architecture that I love about the city. Such a great place to live, work or visit.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks so much, IHR. Of course, diversity must be balanced with unity – a coherent civic character is the result. As you will see as you probe my blog, I believe that too much modern architecture – which is all about (and only about) contrast – can undermine that degree of unity without which your city is not a symphony but a cacophony.

      Like

  2. Anonymous says:

    You captured Providence unlike anyone else…..I esp. like the curve that won your heart also…..Great pics..and comments Dave……Love..L.

    Like

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