Updated March 25 at 6:25am

Fogarty building mourned as demolition begins to make way for Marriott Residence Inn

The John E. Fogarty Building. 1968-2017. A procession of kazoo-playing mourners gathered in front of the Rhode Island Convention Center on Friday to honor not a person – but the John E. Fogarty Memorial Building, which is being demolished to make way for a hotel.

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architecture

Fogarty building mourned as demolition begins to make way for Marriott Residence Inn

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The John E. Fogarty Building. 1968-2017.

A procession of kazoo-playing mourners gathered in front of the Rhode Island Convention Center on Friday to honor not a person – but the John E. Fogarty Memorial Building, which is being demolished to make way for a hotel.

As Shawmut Design and Construction crew members locked up the demolition site for the day, a group of more than 20 people paid their final respects at a funeral held for the building at 111 Fountain St., an icon of 1960s Brutalist architecture that many found hard to love.

The funeral was organized by Marisa Angell Brown, architectural historian and assistant director of programs at the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage at Brown University, in collaboration with Doors Open Rhode Island and the Providence Preservation Society.

Designed by the Rhode Island firm Castellucci, Galli & Planka Associates, the Fogarty was once home of the state’s Department of Human Resources. The Procaccianti Group received final approval in December to raze the vacant building and to build a Marriott Residence Inn on the site. The demolition is expected to take several weeks.

Standing before a funeral wreath and a photo of the building in its former glory, Brown and a few other admirers eulogized the Fogarty at its demolition site before proceeding to Murphy’s Pub to pour one out at the building’s wake.

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Gayle Gifford

Much credit to my public humanities colleagues Marissa Angell Brown and Caroline Stevens for their creativity in this event.

I wish I could say I was a fan, but my wake memories would share the sudden unwelcome drop in temperature on wintry days upon entering the portico of the building... and before walking into that space I always felt a need to fortify my courage as it was rather scary as a woman to move from the public sidewalk into the darker, less visible from the street portico.

I'm reminded of the story of the long-time English teacher at the other Brutalist monster Classical High School recounting the day he met the school's architect. His one question to the designer: WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!!??

Buildings that perhaps worked on paper, but not for the people who worked or studied in them.

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