‘Lost Providence’ and readers

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Proposal by Patrick Conley to redevelop Conley’s Wharf off Allens Ave. (gcpvd.org)

In this digital age, with its mobility and its easy interactivity, I have been trying to imagine how to get readers of this blog interested in helping me write my book Lost Providence, an initiative just now under way. It will be about buildings and houses that have bit the dust in the march to progress. For a long time, progress generally tended to be just that, but since … ahh! Let’s not get into that rubbish just now!

The book was conceived by an editor at History Press, Edward Mack, who saw one of my last columns from my Journal days, “Providence’s 10 best lost buildings” and asked me to turn it into a book. I asked him if I could bring in not just lost buildings but lost projects – projects to improve the city that somehow fell through – on occasion thankfully so.

But I also would like readers to help by suggesting their own ideas for lost buildings or lost projects. For example, a reader might suggest that I mention the succession of designs that were proposed for Parcel 9, especially the nearly nice one by architect Kip McMahan of Robinson Green Beretta, where the GTECH headquarters eventually arose to stink up Waterplace. One reader, Rhode Island Historian Laureate Patrick Conley, has already urged me to include his proposed Conley’s Wharf project to redevelop part of the industrial waterfront along the west bank of the Providence River.

There are all sorts of possibilities, and if some are interesting enough they could result in new chapters in the book, or a chapter that lists and describes the suggestions, along with the reader’s name and the author’s comments. At the proper time, I might also put out on my blog the list of lost buildings that will be described in the book and ask readers to rank which ones are the best. Such a survey would be an interesting addition to the book.

I mentioned some of this in an earlier post several months ago called “Your best lost building here!” Now that the writing is under way, I want to issue the call for lost buildings again. See you name in lights! Or at least in print! Contribute to history!

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Design for Parcel 9 by Kip McMahan, supereceded by GTECH. (RGB)

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.
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6 Responses to ‘Lost Providence’ and readers

  1. Joe says:

    110 Westminster, the Stadium, The Rhode Island history museum, smithsonian gallery heffenreffer museum in Old Stone, the museum mile, and anything but the former gtech disaster of a building-embarrassment to the architects and the review panel–in fact if anything at all should be LOST —it’s that building it is a glorified parking garage….It would have been better that NOTHING AT ALL was ever built on that parcel–it should have been a walled portion of the park at the Basin

    Like

  2. Pamela Harrington says:

    That would be Kip McMahan, NOT Kim McMahan.

    Like

  3. timlehnert@live.com says:

    David:

    Put me down for the “presale” on that volume!

    I assume you saw the Unbuilt Providence show at the Bell Gallery some years ago. It’s toward the bottom of this link.

    https://www.brown.edu/campus-life/arts/bell-gallery/exhibitions/past?page=7

    Tim

    Like

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