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Contextualism was nothing new to Providence (although heretofore it had probably never been called that) when MLTW/Moore, Lyndon, Turnbull designed this combination commercial-dormitory building. The Thayer Street elevation maintains the commercial street line of the block immediately south, while the Bowen Street side sits back from the street line, like the houses across the street and adjacent, and follows architectural cues developed in those same houses. Interior courtyards are intimate and appealing, featuring on its upper elevations abstract sculpture by the wife, Alice Lyndon, of one of the architects. It took first place in Progressive Architecture’s 1970 Design Awards, and the design was published on that prestigious magazine’s January cover. Jury member Robert Venturi characterized it as “anti-symbolic – a kind of neutral recessive building.” He went on to say that the design was “on the one hand dumb and ordinary, and on the other hand very sophisticated; sensitively and unusually done.” The only off note (and a detail not yet worked out when PA gave its award) is the abundance of multiple-color bright glazed tile, which links this building with the psychedelic late 1960s.

– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture

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© 2024 Guide to Providence Architecture. All rights reserved. Design by J. Hogue at Highchair designhaus, with development & support by Kay Belardinelli.