Saved! Brown University Spares 5 Buildings

Architecture critic and author of “Lost Providence,” David Brussat, informs us that Brown University will not be tearing down five buildings to make room for its new performing arts center. From Brussat’s blog Architecture Here and There,

Breaking news! Brown has just issued an announcement that it will shift its proposed performing arts center a block north, saving four historic buildings from demolition. The new site, between Angell and Olive streets rather than Waterman and Angell, requires no demolitions, only the relocation of the Sharpe House (1874) to a site next to the Peter Green House, relocated in 2007. Brown initially rejected the new site as too small.

Brown deserves applause for withdrawing a proposal that would have demolished four houses (including the Lucien Sharpe Carriage House, now the UEL) and relocated one, in effect destroying an entire block of history.

It was only last week that we wrote up the Providence Preservation Society’s latest Endangered Properties List which listed this charming cluster of 19th-century houses for the first time.

Brussat has an excellent map of the area under discussion, with the new PAC site in blue. And we would like to join him in praising the PPS, as well as all the concerned neighbors and students who called, wrote, and applied pressure.

Brown would not have changed its mind were it not for powerful opposition from the local community, led by the Providence Preservation Society. The society, community organizations and other interested individuals and groups who rallied against the proposal did their jobs well.

Seen here is the Sharpe Carriage House, now the Urban Environmental Lab (UEL). Well done everybody and thank you Brown. And the PPS can now cross this bundle right off its 2018 MEP List. That has got to be a record for shortest time. Endangered no more!

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