Dateline 1924: Don’t Let Them Build That Horrible Industrial Bank Building — It Is Simply Too Tall

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

 

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Why should we tear down the Butler Exchange (L) and build the Industrial Tower (R)

There are plans to build a new bank building that will be twice the height of our tallest building. The new proposed Industrial Trust Company building will be more than 428 feet — 26 stories and more than twice the height of the Turks Head building which is 16 stories and is 215 feet in height.

The Industrial Tower will dwarf the rest of Providence — it will cast a shadow in all directions. It is out of proportion with the rest of the city.

Worst of all is that the historic Butler Exchange Building will need to be demolished in order to construct the mammoth blight.

The elegant Butler Exchange has been a constant in the Providence skyline since 1873 and was designed by the prominent architect Arthur Gilman.

As many may remember, the Providence Public Library once was housed in the Butler Exchange.

The proposal for this so-called Industrial Tower will be a design nightmare. It is proposed in that awful Art Deco design, by out-of-state architects Walker & Gillette. They are known for building houses in Tuxedo Park, not for building major business buildings.

Not only will the skyline be scarred by the Art Deco design, but they will be taking every shortcut in materials. They won’t be building with brick or granite, but instead, slabs of limestone will litter the sky.

Why would anyone need to build a building 420 feet?

The only solace maybe that the building will be owned by our own banks — one founded by a true Rhode Islander — Mr. Samuel P. Colt of the United States Rubber Company and cousin to the much-respected gun manufacturer, Samuel Colt.

How can we explain to future generations our misguided decision-making?

How can we defend building a colossal monstrosity of 26 stories — so completely out of scale with the rest of the city?

Let’s hope the City of Providence’s Aldermen will have the foresight and keep all buildings at the height of the Turks Head, but no taller —  16 stories is tall enough for any growing city.

NOTE: On Thursday, the Providence City Council will consider the proposed Fane Tower project.

 

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