by Nicole Hetherington, Assoc. AIA

A Competition Update

In April, the Providence Preservation Society launched a design competition for the historic Citizens Bank site on Providence’s West End.

>Read the original announcement

>Learn about the competition winners

The Canonicus Prize: ONE Neighborhood Builders/led by Haley Hardwick-Witman, was 1 of 2 proposals recognized as outstanding.

The ONE Neighborhood Builders team led by Haley Hardwick-Whitman presented a sensitive and realistic scheme that imagines transit-oriented development with 3-5 story multi-family dwellings. The proposal, which they named “Canonicus Commons,” is a mixed-use, mixed-income development designed to serve the neighborhood with pedestrian-scale residential and commercial buildings. A public market occupying the 1921 bank building was featured in this proposal, and in many others, and was applauded by the jury.

Providence Preservation Society

>Read the ONE Neighborhood Builders Narrative

>See the ONE Neighborhood Builders Images

An Interview with Haley Hardwick-Witman

AIA-RI – How did you find out about the West End Gateway Design Competition?
HHW – I live and work in the area so I try to stay informed of developments slated for the neighborhood. The West Broadway Neighborhood Association (WBNA) sends out newsletters about events within the community and encouraged neighbors to submit to the competition.

AIA-RI – Can you give us a summary of what this competition entails?
HHW – The design competition was a call for proposals for the development of a triangular lot at the apex of Westminster Street and Cranston Street. There are 2 existing historic buildings on the site that were previously occupied by Citizens Bank, and the rest of the lot is paved parking.

AIA-RI – Why else did this competition interest you?
HHW – [In addition to living and working in the area] the current proposed development for the site by the Omni Group is for a few luxury apartments, leaving most of the site as paved parking which is a real disappointment (see attached). This location is in the heart of the West End and should be a vibrant asset to the neighborhood with programmatic elements that are needed such as: commercial space, mixed income housing, and greenspace.

AIA-RI – What challenges in design stood out to you and how did you resolve them?
HHW – The triangular site was a challenge regarding traffic circulation. However the site layout came naturally simply by activating each street with mixed use buildings, an open space was left in the middle which created the centralized courtyard / greenspace.

AIA-RI – What advice would you give to others interested in architecture competitions?
HHW – Just go for it! And collaborate- getting other perspectives is always helpful. I collaborated with Antonio Rodriguez also from ONE Neighborhood Builders, and got feedback from other staff members.