One of the most characteristic spaces of Providence is the RISD Beach with Pietro Belluschi’s perforated brick façade giving an abstract perforated front to the one public space that ties the Quad to the downtown sphere. It is this brick that has become the tectonic glue to the site, having the ability to ground the extension up the hill towards Prospect Street and the New Dormitory. The brick serves as retaining walls, pilasters, and the grounding façades of both the north and south faces of North Hall. The mission of the masterplan dictated the maximum amount of beds, which in turn created massing that was overscaled for the site. Located alongside the List Building by Philip Johnson, the strategy for this building was to excavate out of its mass as much volume as possible in order to relate its sub-components—cornice lines, terraces, material shifts—to the various contextual elements on Angel, Prospect, and Waterman streets. Acknowledging the predicament that almost all of the contemporary construction is composed of laminar units (skin systems, vapor barrier, waterproofing, gyp board) the skin system on this building adopts the slick roof systems of the surrounding context, the prevalent slate roof systems of the RISD and Brown campuses, for its eastern and western faces.
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