Hope for Emmett Square

Architecture Here and There

Proposal for Emmett Square, in Providence. (DPZ) Proposal for Emmett Square, in Providence. Biltmore Hotel (l.) and R.I. Convention Center (r.) are visible. (DPZ)

Years ago, the Miami architecture and planning firm DPZ, led by Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk (his wife), came to Providence again and again to help plan the revival of its downtown. Its last charrette, or brainstorming session, was in 2005. One of the proposals was to reconfigure Emmett Square, just off Kennedy Plaza, at the end of Fountain Street, where the Providence Journal (my employer) is headquartered. The proposal for Emmett Square, which is fed by some seven streets, turned it into a real square, but was unworkable at the time because (among other reasons) two new buildings were to be erected on Journal-owned land on Fountain Street – especially the parking lot next to the Biltmore Hotel and the green, snub-nose parking garage addition to the Journal that juts into the square – much better…

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