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Edwin L Howland’s rather spare design recalls the greater emphasis on form and materials in re-interpretations of the Gothic, as advocated by English art critic John Ruskin, in contrast to highlighting decorative detail, promoted by A.W.N. Pugin, the first promulgator of the Gothic Revival. Howland was certainly capable of elaboration as seen in the Wilcox Building. The relative simplicity was, of course, appropriate for a Universalist congregation. The highly intact interior has a charmingly naive disjunction of form and proportion, with a relatively low ceiling over the center of the nave, broad pointed arches (neither lancet nor Tudor in form) carried on spindly colonnettes with fussy capitals and a seating plan for congregants and choir little related to the spatial organization.

– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture

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