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Arthur J. Levy House

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1935. 30 Fairview Ave.

The Providence Sunday Journal for December 8, 1935, announced: “The inevitable has happened. Modernist architecture has at last invaded the Rhode Island home building field.… One of those fantastic dwellings championed by such radicals as Wright, Lescaze and Le Corbusier has sprung up in a neighborhood of highly conservative homes.” The lawyer client had, while on a Florida vacation, seen something like what he got. And what he got was a long, one-story block elegantly crafted in unpainted cinder block, abruptly punctuated at the center by another, slightly projecting and two stories. This contains the door, framed in a recessed stepped molding, with a semicircular plane projecting above it. A one-car garage (with later door), slightly set back, is attached. The metal-framed windows (so important to early modern design, but then so vulnerable to rust and the desire for improved insulation) seem to be original. Inside (not open to the public) are original wooden kitchen cupboards, structural glass bathroom accoutrements, decorative metal stair railing, and more relics of the Moderne. The stair leads to a small rooftop sun-room. A lot of stair for a mini-destination, perhaps, but the sunroom also serves as the vestibule for the modernist pièce de résistance: the rooftop terrace, from which parts of the bay are visible. Tenative “modern” here urbanely works itself out of a sort of Regency formality.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "Arthur J. Levy House", [Cranston, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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