39 Aluminum Buildings are going up at 3 Ship Street.
This is the latest in the exciting Ideas popping up in the District now that !-195 is out of the way. South Street Landing... the big CV-Wexford three-stage plan for Parcels 22/25... projects and development schemes rumored, proposed, presented to Design and Zoning Commissions, then often vanish before they are even announced. Some simply get lost in the bureaucratic maze.
To keep tabs on what's going on, the JDA web-site team monitors permit hearings...cozies up to developers... and assiduously reads Building Permits posted here and there. Using the last-named method we found out about the impending arrival of this new, major development.
This proposal is very, very real.
You can see for yourself. Posted on the entrance to the condos at 3 Ship Street is a permit issued by the Building Dept. that gives the go-ahead for "39 aluminum buildings" at the site. By anyone's count, 39 buildings is a major project. And since aluminum is used very little in buildings -- except to re-side triple deckers -- this sounds excitingly experimental.
As we said, precious little information is available. This one's a fascinating puzzle, since 3 Ship Street is already pretty much filled up with the building already on site.
Ever resourceful, the JDA has managed to obtain an artist's rough concept of the development and reveal it here for the very first, and perhaps, last time.
The architectural firm, which is new to us, says that the project will bring to Providence the "kraal concept" of communal living. A traditional organizational method for villages in Africa, this system knits a community together for daily living and protection, as well centering it in the surrounding agricultural and wood gathering areas so necessary to sustaining life in harsh conditions. As an added cross-cultural influence, the architects have chosen to introduce a Mongolian yurt theme to their concept.
In effect, the tightly clustered yurt-influenced structures, executed in stylish brushed aluminum, with floor-to-dome sliding glass doors all around (an oblique nod to Philip Johnson's Glass House in Connecticut) will create an ancillary village on the roof of 3 Ship Street. David Brussat, with whom we shared the concept, decried the lack of ornament, but praised, in principle, the effort to revert to an older, more honest style of building.
In a nod to the concerns for the ecological health of the planet, the "39 commercial aluminum buildings" prescribed by the permit will be Platinum LEED certified, and therefore remarkably energy efficient.