19 Fremont Street


A reader alerted me to this building, apparently built without much local fanfar over the course of 2005 and 2006. I like it, especially because it sticks out in the neighborhood, but it is not so ostentatious as to stick out like a bright coral Spanish revival, or another terrible vinyl-sided prefab home. It’ new and different without being out of place, and it seems to use materials and space well.

He lends us this other information as well: This was a parking lot for twenty five or so years, as I believe the original buildings (2) were demolished in the late seventies or early eighties. Even though it is in an old neighborhood, it is not in a historic district, and as such it was not subject to a design review by the city. This made for a rather easy permitting process with no variances required. The cladding is tongue and groove white cedar on the top two floors and stucco at the base. It was featured on the cover of the Boston Globe Sunday Home magazine in an article by William Morgan last summer (2006, as well as several other publications). The building was evolved from the inside out, a minimal statement held within the framework of a tight rectangle derived from zoning setbacks, allowable FAR and height restrictions.

Sam May 21 2008 What a smart-looking little house. I’ve seen some similar structures sprout on College Hill in recent years, and they jive really well with the older stock. I think this style is most successful in dense neighborhoods with lots of trees, and dramatic topography. But see how it makes a depressed, flatlands neighborhood look even more dreary, as with the Meeting Street School in South Providence (ed- dreary by comparison, I assume?).

Vic April 10 2008 Josh, unfortunately more architects never even know who McKim, Mead and White were, let alone follow in their hallowed footsteps. The trio were way ahead of their time and inspired many contemporary architects from FLWright to Robert (AM) Stern. 19 Fremont is a travesty unlike most of M M & W’s works. With McKim’s classicalism, Mead’s structurisms and White’s worldly influences, the group was a formidable force to be built against. 19 Fremont’s scriber only wished he penned the famous Low House in Bristol, RI. This box is nowhere near worth mentioning in the same article as McKim, Mead and White. I pick “blend” anytime.

josh I think it is unfortunate that Rhode Islanders are so unwilling to embrace modern Architecture. It seems we have all become so dumbed down with the visual restraints placed on us by commissions and commities. While the three tenaments have their rightful place in RI’s rich architectural history, vinyl siding should never be considered “character”. True character comes in the form of innovative, progressive, often daring ideas. With out innovative thinkers we wouldn’t have some of our most treasured Rhode Island architecture. Bye bye State House (Mckim, Mead & White). The dome alone is amazing and was considered too radical for its time. We can no longer afford to reject modern buildings with innovative uses of resources. These building standards often incorporate LEED requirements and have minimal impact on the environment while adding another chapter in our history. I think we should continue to have a open mind when we look at Providence’s architecture and the rich visual story unfolding.

Think about it, no one gets hot and bothered by the Court Yard Marriott which “blends” in and to some extent, fades away. Instead, your eye is drawn to the GTECH building which acts as a counterpoint to all of the other “classical” architecture. Without this balance one can’t truly appreciate different styles and gestures. It might be that the house on Fremont has just made us aware of the boring, restrained, and inhibited design we have had to live with.

John Looks like something I see built in Venice or Hermosa Beach, CA, not RI. Sorry does not fit, only 3 decker tenaments should be built there to keep character intact.

Vic Oh yeah, “that” blends…

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