Fogarty Building RIP, 1968-2017

Mar 17, 2017

An unusual funeral takes place in Providence Friday afternoon. It’s for a building: the John E. Fogarty Memorial Building on Fountain St. Built by the state in 1968 to house the Department of Human Services, it’s being torn down now, after a period of emptiness and deterioration.

Funeral organizers say they want to honor its architectural significance in Providence. The Fogarty Building is an example of the Brutalist style of architecture, popular in the 60’s and 70’s, especially for government buildings.

Architectural historian Marisa Brown says the name lent itself to misinterpretation.

“People felt that the Brutalist style came about because the buildings themselves were brutal. In fact, it was a play on the French word for concrete,” said Brown.

The massive concrete façade of the Fogarty Building divided architecture critics in Providence; some liked it, some hated it. All are being encouraged to attend the ceremony at 4 p.m. Friday, at graveside at 100 Fountain St., to share their memories. After the service, the sharing will continue at a nearby pub.