The Providence College (PC) Ruane Center of Humanities, designed by The S/L/A/M Collaborative, won the Palladio Award during the Traditional Building Conference in Princeton, NJ, making it the fifth award received for this project.
The main idea behind the design of this building was to increase prominence and visibility at the campus entrance to reflect the importance of the role of Humanities and the Development of Western Civilization (DWC), PC’s signature program. It was also intended to highlight the building’s affinity with Harkins and Aquinas Halls, adjacent library and science complex buildings, and the first and most distinctive buildings designed for Providence College in the Collegiate Gothic tradition. Neo-Gothic form materials and detailing complement the original Collegiate Gothic-style architecture on campus. The interior design of this facility focuses on natural light, thus natural light floods into every office and classroom. “The design intent was to create a symphony of spaces that connects students, professors and the humanities curriculum. This, expressed with the Ruane Center Collegiate Gothic architecture, connects historic campus buildings and landscape to strengthen the entire campus community and mission of the college…The College asked for a Collegiate Gothic style building. The school clearly wanted to go in that direction, to tie the fabric of the campus together.” says Neil H. Martin, AIA, project designer and SLAM Principal.
The new three-story 63,000 square foot building is comprised of three distinct areas including a distinctive illuminated tower entrance acting as a beacon for the campus community which enters into a dramatic double-height Great Room with a 180-degree view of the campus and an outdoor terrace; a centrally located teaching area with two large halls for DWC lectures and presentations; two medium-sized classrooms; 12 smaller seminar rooms; faculty offices, work rooms, and conference spaces that provide headquarters for multiple departments. All Providence College students now take classes in the iconic building, intended to enhance a new core liberal arts curriculum pedagogy instituted by PC.
“This will be our signature building for the next 100 years. I couldn’t be more excited about a new academic facility than I am for this building”, said Rev. Brian J. Shanley, OP, ’80, College President. “It will symbolize the college’s commitment to the liberal arts, the humanities and undergraduate education—including the revitalized core curriculum and the development of Western civilization, which remains the cornerstone of the Providence college academic experience.” The key challenge for the team, who worked alongside Sullivan Buckingham Architects of Boston, was to design, bid and build the facility within 18 months, necessitating a Fast-Track approach to achieve this aggressive schedule. Work began in January of 2012 and bid in May. The Center was completed within budget and opened in August of 2013, as promised.
The Palladio Awards are the only national awards program honoring traditional design, and are produced by Clem Labine’s Traditional Building magazine. The Providence College Ruane Center of Humanities Project won a 2015 Bulfinch Award from the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art and was also recognized for outstanding design by the American School & University’s Annual Architectural Portfolio. In addition, the project won the AIA Rhode Island Award earlier this year.