The post office, a large, triple-cross-vaulted structure in reinforced concrete, is enclosed by a purely functional wall which diminishes any sense of its true scale and makes it look unimpressive. While under construction as three vast, billowing enclosures of space coming to the ground without any interior supports, however, it was impressive indeed. It was built at a time when such vaulting in reinforced concrete, developed by European engineers such as Pier Luigi Nervi in Italy, was just being discovered in the United States and similarly employed in the near-contemporaneous three-vaulted concourse for the St. Louis Airport (1951–1958, Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum). This was the first fully automated post office in the United States, employing then radical German technology, since modified, as an experiment toward speeding the mail. It was also in the vanguard of the warehouse type of postal operation in an industrial park outside the city center, which funnels all mail coming to or originating in a region through a large-scale facility. As such, it marks the beginning of the end of the downtown city post office for pride of place in the postal system.
You are here
U.S. Post Office, Providence Main Post Office
If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.
SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.