Monday, July 1, 2013

Zachariah Allen House, Providence, RI

The Zachariah Allen House, Providence, RI. 1864. Photo: Mr. Ducke

The Zachariah Allen house was built in 1864 by one of Rhode Island's most important 19th century industrialists and scientists who revolutionized textile mill design. In 1938 it was bought and turned into the Brown Faculty Club. I have actually attended conferences here, although most of the space used for these functions is in the rather ugly but suitably subdued and hidden addition from the 1980s. The building was designed by Allen Stone. This house also has the elements of Providence design, brick face, brownstone, sober design and follows Anglo-Italianate precedents.

The house follows the symmetrical plan and is also cube like in its massing. Like the Lippitt house which was contemporary with this one, a belt course separates the first from the second and third floors. Here, the architect chose marble, rather than brownstone, to liven up the composition. Simple moldings around the windows are expected. The third floor's windows also follow the simplification seen in the Lippitt house, with plain stone lintels rather than molding. The central bay projects and is pedimented; the pediment is reflected in the central second story window's molding. The porch here is simple, almost a Greek Revival composition, with Ionic columns and a proportioned cornice. The main cornice as well is suitably dull and Anglo-Italianate with small brackets and dentils. It is an example of the Providence way of demonstrating wealth, conformity and simplicity with an elegance of proportion and detail. I have a few pictures of the interiors which I snapped the last time I was there.

1 comment:

  1. A minor correction: the architect was Alfred, not Allen, Stone. Also, this house is notable as his first independent commission. Pretty impressive for an architect just starting up.