A bold beginning by young-Turk-architect Albert Harkness who, after studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, rejected the fashion of Parisian polishing at the École des Beaux-Arts so typical in his day. This reinforced-concrete-frame office building was the first of its type in Providence, where such structural technology has seen limited use for the previous ten years but only for industrial buildings. The erection of such a forward-looking building, a small sample of Chicago’s great contribution to commercial architecture brought to Providence, may be chalked up to the indulgence of the clients, who were members of the architect’s family. The building’s broad expanses of glass exploit the possibilities of the new technology while the use of terra-cotta trim inserts a conservative note, a hint at the more conservative direction the architect’s practice would ultimately follow. Johnson & Wales University’s careful stewardship here pays tribute to this important landmark.
– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture