Funeral + Irish Wake For the John E. Fogarty Building

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The John E. Fogarty Building (d. 2017), RIP 

Friday, March 17, 2017 at 4pm outside of 100 Fountain Street.

Short eulogies will be delivered by those who knew the Fogarty best.  There will be an open casket and a funeral procession around the building, ending, as wakes do, with pints and good cheer at a neighborhood watering hole.  All welcome.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to DownCity Design, a non-profit organization dedicated to building community through design.

The John E. Fogarty Memorial Building, of 111 Fountain Street, Providence, passed away on Monday, March 13 after a protracted and debilitating illness.  It was 49 years old and was the beloved child of the Rhode Island architecture firm Castellucci, Galli & Planka Associates.   

Jana Planka, the daughter of one of the Fogarty’s lead architects, H. Michael Planka, remembers her father’s excitement about designing the building: “He was a very progressive man and was looking to do something different and a little left of center – he was looking to break the mold.”  Its baby pictures reveal an energy and sense of confidence that jibe with the era’s muscle cars – the Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro, and Plymouth Road Runner.  But the world changed around it, and tastes changed and by the 21st century, the Fogarty had few friends left.  The death knell sounded a couple of weeks ago on March 1, when the replacement building’s permit was issued.

Photo by @gcpvd (Greater City Providence)

For those of us who live in Providence, and love Providence, the Fogarty was always a formidable building.  Even in death, it remains so.  Demolition began on Monday, March 13 and at the end of the day, one corner of the building had succumbed, leaving a gaping hole.  The steel bars known as rebar that “reinforce” the sand and stone that make up concrete were left exposed and deformed, having been cut through by the nearby excavator.  But some sense of strength remained: Daniel Govoni, a project manager with Northstar Project and Real Estate Services, was quoted in the Providence Journal on March 9, saying “The bones of the building, they’re still intact.”  No longer.

Please join Doors Open RI on Friday, March 17 at 4pm at 100 Fountain Street to mark the passage of this powerful figure in our cityscape.  Eulogies will be delivered by some who knew the Fogarty best, including architectural historian Marisa Brown, architecture critic David Brussat, historian Ned Connors, Jana Planka (daughter of the lead architect) and others.  All are welcome to share their memories as well.  Following the eulogies, there will be a procession around the open casket followed by drinks at a nearby watering hole. 

Authors: Marisa Angell Brown, Assistant Director of Programs at the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage Brown University; Steve Lubar of Brown University; and Caroline Stevens, Director of Doors Open Rhode Island.

This funeral is organized in partnership with the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Culture Heritage, Providence Preservation Society, and Doors Open Rhode Island

For information, please visit the Doors Rhode Island website or contact Caroline Stevens at caroline@doorsopenri.org. Share your memories and reflections: #fogartyfuneral

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