John Carl Warnecke & Associates’ (Los Angeles) twenty-eight-story tower is a lackluster addition to both the street and the skyline. Its setback emulates the New York mid-century modernist posture of tall building behind public plaza that was first seen in Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s Lever House (1951-52); the plaza’s current design by sculptor Howard Ben Tre bravely attempts to soften the rigid geometry of the space. The tower’s blunt mass, made all the more graceless by the travertine curtain wall, culminates in a broad masonry cap embellished by an oddly delicate necklace of lights, whose golden glow cutely changes to red and green in the weeks before Christmas. Before the construction of the tower, this staid institution flirted with the idea of a dramatic helical shaft by Paul Rudolph, a project that would have built on the avant-garde precedent set by the Industrial Trust Co forty years earlier. The curiously named bank lost its identity through corporate acquisition in the late twentieth century.
– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture