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Through only a story higher than the Banigan Building, Union Trust looks much more like a skyscraper, thanks to its slender massing, which was even more emphatic before an addition on the east side in 1920. Like many of its tall contemporaries, especially on the East Coast, its organization takes cues from the pre-eminent vertical form in classical architecture, the column, with its strong base, less articulated shaft, and elaborate top. Architects Stone, Carpenter & Willson, best known strong colonial revival work, borrowed both details and materials from early early American architecture to create this deliciously frilly confection. Like other fine buildings in the Beaux-Arts tradition, this one incorporates compelling decorative arts, including stained glass medallions representing historic financial institutions in the original banking hall windows and the figures of Pilgrim and (Indian) reclining above the main entrance (the Indian scantily clad in a patronizing attempt to capture the “Noble Savage,” an attitude typical of the period), an ensemble attributed to Daniel Chester French and reminiscent of Michelangelo’s Medici tomb figures. The client was bank president Marsden J. Perry.

– 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.