These two really ugly new buildings on Providence’s storied East Side reveal a thoughtlessness and lack of consideration on the part of two highly respected private schools. People walking or driving by Moses Brown or the Lincoln School must wonder how such eyesores could possibly have been foisted upon their lovely streets – Hope Street and Blackstone Boulevard, top and bottom, respectively, both at very prominent locations. Did either of these schools ask, or even care, what their neighbors might think?
The two carbuncles are, top, a set of squash courts and, bottom, a STEM (or STEAM) facility. Neither use requires a design that punches either historic neighborhood in the face. The architects are not to blame, ugly as their work looks. They just follow orders. The boards of the two schools, both Quaker, are to blame. Maybe they are not criminals, though they ignore local zoning ordinances protecting historical character. It may be more accurate to call them sinners. They have sinned against beauty, and betrayed their city, their neighborhoods, and their own institutions, which boast campuses that are otherwise lovely. Shame!