A Few Plants . . . Some Curtains . . . Oh

shipping container In a recent piece for the Providence Journal (Modernist rampage in Providence) columnist David Brussat decries, among other projects, the ghastly Box Office.

The Box Office is a proposed three-story building of 36 recycled steel shipping containers. Instant slums. Maybe that works for Olneyville. The young developers of this project wondered: With shipping containers piling up in ports, why not use them as buildings? Which makes me wonder: Why not leave them piled up in ports, where they will come in handy as shipping containers after the recession?

Aesthetics aside for a moment, is there a shortage of empty buildings in Providence I was unaware of?  I thought we had plenty of available inventory.  I know just how this ends — the developers* will be shocked to discover that the market is glutted with such units, bail on the project and leave a pile of rusting shipping containers to peel in the sun by the side of the road (the site of the old Harris Lumber) looking for all the world like an abandoned container port. Mayor Cicilline was at the groundbreaking (?) ceremony for this harebrained enterprise  — he should call the whole thing off.

*The Truth Box, Inc. website lists 27 Sims Avenue in Providence as its address.

5 thoughts on “A Few Plants . . . Some Curtains . . . Oh”

  1. My main point is that there are so many empty buildings sitting around and that these will be hastily plunked down and become more empty buildings. Do the developers have interested parties who are committed and signed for any length of time? Who the hell would that even be? We have tons of space going begging, and this is too far from Johnson & Wales to be another dorm. And I don’t think Rhode Island has given up on actual shipping — I don’t yet regard it as a nostalgic memory of our once grand past.

  2. I don’t know, I might like it. I really like the Puma store in Boston, and think it might be nice to acknowledge Providence’s role in shipping over the past three centuries. (Even if it isn’t in the shipping part of the city…)

  3. I have to agree with certain points and clearify one.

    There are way too many vacant buildings in and around Providence that need to be taken advantage of.

    The design of the building is UGLY!!! That doesn’t mean all container based buildings are unappealing. If you go through the archives at Treehugger, you come across some beautiful container houses. This particular design doesn’t mesh well with the aggressively quaint colonial styling of New England.

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