As the environmental response to transportation- and development-driven efforts at Capital Center, this three-quarter-mile-long riverside walkway has become the city’s visually compelling focus. A bit of the Seine, with high-speed traffic on one side, and eventually, with luck, a bit of San Antonio, with shops and restaurants on the other, this highly picturesque pedestrian path should become the city’s trademark. William D. Warner Architects and Planners’ design is exceptionally pretty, almost too much so, but it so successfully captivates popular taste that visitors linger late at night even when nothing is planned for this highly scheduled space. Barnaby Evans’s signature summertime evening event, “WaterFire,” with regularly cadenced braziers bearing oak-log fires bobbing down the river from Waterplace, a simulacrum of the nineteenth-century Cove Basin, to the Crawford Street Bridge, is not to be missed.
– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture