architecture

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

DEMOLITION OF the John E. Fogarty Memorial Building began this week to make way for a Marriott Residence Inn.
DEMOLITION OF the John E. Fogarty Memorial Building began this week to make way for a Marriott Residence Inn. PBN PHOTO/NICOLE DOTZENROD
3/17/17

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.