Greater City Providence

RISD’s Farnum Hall demolished

The Rhode Island School of Design's Farnum Hall on Congdon Street demolished
Photo by William LaPierre

RISD’s Farnum Hall was demolished today. Late last year RISD sought permission from the city to demolish their former dormitory and painting studio on College Hill’s Congdon Street.

It is sad to see the building go, it was a rare example of a courtyard style apartment building in Providence, and in better days, was quite handsome. Unfortunately the building’s foundation was shot and word around campus for the last few years was that it was slowly but surely sliding down the hill, not good news for the downhill neighbors.

In January, RISD told the Providence Business News:

“Our ultimate vision and intent is to provide an outside classroom/park for our students within that space,” [RISD spokeswoman Jaime] Marland wrote in an e-mail. “The proposal is still in the review process with the Providence Historic District Commission, and so there’s no timing or decision on any demolition as of yet.”

There is parking on site, and as I said last year, parking (or a perceived lack thereof) is a contentious issue on the RISD campus. Let’s hope the school indeed creates outdoor space for students and not more parking on the site.

One more photo:

Photo by William LaPierre

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • Honestly Farnum was a dump, I had friends who lived in it, and in my memory the courtyard didn’t get much light ever. Perhaps they could build a terraced lot into the hillside for parking that had a green roof and satisfy everyone . Probably not since the school is broke.

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