Durkee, Brown, Viveiros & Werenfels (DVBW)
RCG Architects (JMT)
Halvorson | Tighe & Bond Studio
Rhode Island Nursing Education Center
A historic power plant in Providence, Rhode Island was transformed into the thriving South Street Landing after extensive historic rehabilitation work. The building now serves as a research and technology hub for local schools while helping revitalize a forgotten part of Providence. Thoughtful preservation efforts were taken to ensure the historic scale and grandeur of the space was retained.
Under the stewardship of CV Properties, the necessary funding was acquired to complete the $177 million project. MHA Boston worked with the developers to secure $36 million in Rhode Island State Historic Tax Credits and $28 million in federal historic tax credits for the rehabilitation of the historic property.
Construction of the power plant originally started in 1912, with multiple development phases in the years to follow until 1952. The 400 LB House, Turbine Hall and 200 LB house all had cavernous interiors with ceilings soaring to 70 feet and housing massive equipment generating power for a large portion of the city of Providence. The Turbine Hall had a 50-ton Morgan Crane and large concrete dynamo blocks to hold the massive turbines that created the power. Though built at different times, the buildings have a cohesive design in the Classical Revival style and are all constructed of red brick and feature multi-story arched window openings. The plant was decommissioned in 1995 with strong hopes for redevelopment.
The building sat until 2013, when Boston based developers CV Properties began assembling a plan to rehabilitate the project with three significant Rhode Island institutions: Brown University, Rhode Island College (RIC), and the University of Rhode Island (URI). Brown had already made investments into the Jewelry District neighborhood where the building sits and committed to moving many of its administrative offices into the renovated complex. RIC and URI were joining together to create a state-of-the-art Nursing Education Center that includes technologically advanced simulation and training systems.
The architectural firm Tsoi Kobus Design honored the history and sense of scale in the 70-foot-high spaces in their new design for the power plant. While two new floors were added to increase the square footage, a portion of the Turbine Hall was turned into a lightwell and lounge to create a dramatic interior view of the space that once provided power to the city of Providence.
The vision of the three local schools and CV Properties offered a complex historic structure an exciting new use into the twenty-first century. The project has proven a catalyst for the local neighborhood, which has seen significant recent development because of the success of South Street Landing. The project’s many award wins, including the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Award, are further evidence of how preservation, thoughtful new uses, and dedication to our historic structures can make a lasting change for a community.
- AIA and The Society for College and University Planning | 2020 CAE Honor Award for Excellence in Architecture for Rehabilitation, Restoration or Preservation
- Boston Society of Architects/AIA | 2019 Design Awards - Education Facilities Design - Citation: Transformation – Higher Ed Education Facilities
- National Trust for Historic Preservation | 2019 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Award
- Engineering News Record New England | 2018 Best Projects - Best Renovation/Restoration
- IFMA Boston Chapter | 2018 Award of Excellence - Best Practices-Large Project
- Preserve Rhode Island and Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission | 2018 Rhody Award
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