Thayer Street apartment project redesigned

UNION STUDIO ARCHITECTS have redesigned Gilbane Development Co.’s proposed 102-unit luxury student apartment building on Thayer Street
Posted 6/22/12

PROVIDENCE - Union Studio architects have redesigned Gilbane Development Co.’s proposed 102-unit luxury student apartment building on Thayer Street in response to neighborhood complaints that the original plan was “massive” and “monotonous.”

The new design for the four-story building, slated for the block between Meeting Street, Brook Street and Euclid Avenue, separates sections of the structure’s façade with different rooflines and openings into the central courtyard to make it look more like a group of smaller buildings.

Sections of the building further from Thayer have been given a more residential look with pitched roofs intended to make it look shorter from the street.

“We worked hard to break the scale down into elements that were legible at the street,” said Union Studio principal Donald Powers. “There is a section that responds to Thayer, a section that responds to Euclid, Meeting and Brook. Probably the biggest change is to open up the building with views into the courtyard.”

Other changes include:

  • Inverting the turret at the corner of Thayer and Euclid.

  • Consolidating individual openings into larger ones.

  • Simplifying window patterns.

  • Reducing the number of architectural “phrases.”

Early reaction from the College Hill Neighborhood Association and Providence Preservation Society to the new design has been positive, although both organizations are reserving judgment on the overall project.

“Exponentially better,” said Preservation Society Executive Director James Hall.

The 257 Thayer development requires the demolition of nine existing buildings on the block, a zoning change and alteration in the city’s comprehensive plan.

A public hearing on the zoning changes, which need city council approval, is scheduled before the council’s ordinance committee Tuesday.

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