Smith Center for the Arts
Kate Gwiazdowski
Form and Structure:

Smith Center is symmetrical and made of brick and stone giving the building a serious and historical appearance. The entrance patio is also made of brick and stone and may have provided the inspiration for the new brick walkway on upper campus in front of Phillips Memorial Library. The attempt to replicate existing buildings on the Providence College campus connects Smith Center to the hospital buildings on lower campus and the older structures on upper campus. The road in front of Smith is made to look like cobblestone. The entrance is facing the lower campus quad and has large arched windows. Carved out stone with the name of the building marks the entryway. Upon entry one will notice the interior floors are made of slate and the window frames are made of stone. The ticket booth inside and surrounding ticket window areas are made of wood. The back of the exterior of the building is not as decorated as the front; it shows windows with no ornamentation or arches. The front appears to be only two stories but the back shows three stories. This is because of the slope in the landscape; the building is actually two and a half stories. It was made in the likeness of Renaissance and Gothic architecture and somewhat reflects the architecture seen in Harkins Hall.

Architecture:
Keefe Associates, Inc. (same as St. Dominic Chapel) and SLAM Collaborative Firm designed the building and the construction was carried out by E. Turgeon Construction Corporation. Several engineering companies were also involved in the building process including R.G. Vanderweil Engineers, Caputo and Wick Ltd, and Fuss & O'Neill Inc. The landscape architect was Marc Mazzarelli Associates. (Tradeline Inc.)
View of Gothic style window
View of Gothic style window
Angell Blackfriars Theater
Angell Blackfriars Theater

Patronage:

Providence College commissioned the building in 2003 in order to fulfill the need for a space for students studying the arts. The building now houses several small theaters including the Angell Blackfriars Theater (dedicated by the Angell family as a tribute to PC graduate David Angell who was killed along with his wife on September 11, 2001), art galleries, music rooms, dance studios, a concert hall, and classrooms equipped with the latest technological advances. Each of these rooms was dedicated by individual people or families, but the building is named after the former president Father Phillip A. Smith.
Costume Shop
Costume Shop
John Bowab Practice Theater
John Bowab Practice Theater

Function:
Services students involved and interested in theater, dance, and film production. The building is new and in good condition. Although its function is to provide a space for the arts, a cross is located on the roof of the entryway as a reminder to all who enter that it is part of a Catholic campus.

Setting:
Smith Center is located on lower campus off of Eaton Street and next to another new building, Suites Hall. The entrance faces the lower campus quad and is built of brick in order to make it harmonious with the older buildings on both lower and upper campus. It was designed to resemble the architecture seen in Harkins Hall on upper campus with the large Gothic windows.

Context:
The serious and historical nature of Smith Center reflects the studious atmosphere of the College campus. Dark wood, stone, and Gothic windows reflect the college's desire to connect Smith Center to existing older buildings. However, there is also the need to keep the building young and up to date. Upon entry one will notice that the interior does not look old. Each classroom is equipped with the latest surround sound systems and other technical features. The theaters in the building are also equipped with state of the art technology for stage lighting and sound control (Providence College).

SLAM Collaborative works with schools across the country building structures that fit in to the campus surroundings and engineered with the latest technological advances. The Notre Dame Visitors Center built by SLAM in 1998 also resembles the Gothic style. The windows remarkably reflect those in Smith Center with the high arch built of stone. Another building on the Notre Dame campus reflecting Smith Center is the Jordan Hall of Science. While it does not exactly look like Smith Center, the details in the structure's appearance somewhat resemble what we see on our campus. The use of brick and Gothic style windows as well as the crenellations above the entry all resemble what we see at Smith Center.

Perhaps the most important thing about Smith Center is the architects attempt to connect it to Providence College's existing structures. It was made in the likeness of Bishop Harkins Hall on upper campus. It is not as ornate and detailed, but the windows, brick, and stone match that of Harkins. The attempt on the part of the architect to connect the old campus and new campus architecture gives the school a sense of cohesiveness.


Notre Dame's Visitors Center, SLAM
Notre Dame's Visitors Center, SLAM
Notre Dame, Jordan Hall of Science, SLAM
Notre Dame, Jordan Hall of Science, SLAM

Harkins Hall
Harkins Hall


Bibliography

"Portfolio." SLAM Collaborative. 2008. 6 Dec. 2008 <http://slamcoll.com/#portfolio>.

"Providence College smith Center for the Arts." Providence College. 2008. 5 Dec. 2008 <http://www.providence.edu/about+pc/new+initiatives/completed+projects/smith+center+for+the+arts.htm>.

"Smith Center for the Arts." Tradeline Inc. 2008. 5 Dec. 2008 <http://www.tradelineinc.com/profiles/cd837e36-2b3b-b525-8d561a4ba7240fe5>.