William Fletcher building

The Fletcher building marks the first foray into downtown Providence for RISD and its graduate students

About this Property


The Fletcher building began its new life in late 1998 as studios for graduate students at RISD. Each of the six floors has studios for painting, printmaking and sculpture with shared wood shops and critique space. Photo, new media and design students use the adjacent Mason building – the Center for Integrative Technologies – by accessing it through new connecting stairwells between the buildings.

While the interior renovations went quickly, and reused the old doors and windows that looked into the hallways, the exterior remodeling took more time, and was completed in late 2004. Ground floor retail again occupies the space — Gourmet Heaven opened in 2009.

We were able to take the shots from the Union Street side of the building so well because the demolition of Traveller’s Aid was occurring next door.

These two buildings (Mason and Fletcher) are part of RISD’s expansion into downtown in the 2000s. The former Hospital Trust building was renovated for student housing and the newly expanded RISD library, and an ambitious new Student Center and Museum extension broke ground in 2006 on South Main Street.

#Current Events

The Fletcher building still houses graduate student programs and studios. Ground-floor retail along Union Street has been replaced by RISD Co-works — a “maker” studio —  while Gourmet Heaven has become Serendipity Gourmet.


From RIHPHC’s Survey of Downtown Providence, 1984

Fletcher building (ca. 1895; 1903) — George Waterman Cady, architect; 5-story, brick-sheathed, steel-frame structure with mid-century storefronts; main entrance in quoined pavilion on Union Street; 5-bay facade of pier and recessed spandrel system with Chicago window infill second through fifth stories culminating with panels and cartouches above which are simple rectangular windows and round headed windows on top floor. Built as an office structure in the late 1890s, the Fletcher building was extensively remodeled in 1903 when the top three stories were added. It continues to function as an office building.