Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Seth Adams Double House, Providence, RI

The Seth Adams House, Providence, RI. Photo: Wikimedia
This Italianate double house was built by Seth Adams as a rental property in 1854 and was designed by notable architect Richard Upjohn. It was bought by Brown and is now the Horace Mann house where the English department is housed, according to an article. Double houses were extremely popular in crowded cities, especially with developers, because they allowed the maximum usage of the property without requiring the land to build a row. From an architectural perspective, the double house usually tries to simulate a single family home in its style and massing. This example follows the pavilion plan, a tries to fit in architecturally with other impressive mansions. Like other Providence Italianates, its style is severe, with brownstone trim and brick facing. In this house details are kept to a minimum. Window hoods are simple brick, there are spare stone belt courses, there is not a full entablature but only cornice and brackets. Even the doors are plain. The windows on the first and second floor are segmental arched, but incorporate tombstone windows within the frame. Semi-circular fanlights appear in the gables, answering back to earlier Federal design. Although it may not be an extravaganza of ornament, the house is typical of the considered designs for even routine commissions.

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