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Audrain Building

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1902–1903, Bruce Price. 220–230 Bellevue Ave.

Erected on part of the lot of the famous Atlantic House Hotel, which was destroyed by fire in 1898, this commercial block was built by A. L. Audrain, whose art goods business had previously been down the street in the Travers Block. This southernmost of the distinguished Bellevue Avenue quartet of commercial structures differs from the others in that Bruce Price broke with the Anglo-American picturesque idiom, a style which he himself helped formulate, and instead designed a more monumental block with a highly evolved program of ornament.

The Audrain building is encased in a glazed skin of Renaissance motifs and monumental arched windows. Instead of the inset bays of the Casino and the King Block, each storefront is defined by a single glazed opening capped with an arch near the cornice. The front third of the brick mass is opened up with these monumental windows running from foundation to cornice; each is trimmed in a glazed terra-cotta decoration of piping, foliage accents, grotesque masks, and strapwork.

Rather than specifically reacting to its neighbors, the Price design is in keeping with a shift in his own work during the late 1890s toward a heavier, masonry classicism. One of his last works (he died in early 1903), the storefront bays when first opened held a genteel potpourri of businesses: the Audrain art supply shop, a stockbroker, an importer of canned goods, and a photographer.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.
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Citation

William H. Jordy et al., "Audrain Building", [Newport, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/RI-01-NE143.

Print Source

Buildings of Rhode Island, William H. Jordy, with Ronald J. Onorato and William McKenzie Woodward. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 564-565.

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