Brown University is planning to expand into the
ROBERT STEUTEVILLE    JAN. 1, 2007
Brown University is planning to expand into the Jewelry District of Providence, Rhode Island, by purchasing seven buildings containing 232,000 square feet. Past expansion by the university on the city’s East Side often brought Brown into conflict with neighbors. In directing much of its future growth to the Jewelry District, Brown will be creating a concentration of research and development activity south of downtown. “Brown does not have a good history of advancing good architecture on the East Side in the past 20 years, to put it mildly,” says Douglas Storrs of Cornish Associates, Providence’s leading new urbanist development firm. “However, of late they have been open to and solicited input early in the design process.” Noting that in at least two recent situations, Brown abandoned proposals that “were clearly inadequate or simply bad modernist designs,” Storrs is hopeful that Brown’s activity in the mixed-use area south of downtown will be beneficial — especially if the university agrees to an architectural code for the area. Relocation of Interstate 195, for decades a barrier between downtown and the Jewelry District, is under way and should be completed in two years.