Monday, September 19, 2016

The Steel Yard: Industrial Arts Center, Providence Rhode Island


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     Summer was coming to an end and once again it was time to make the pilgrimage to Providence, Rhode Island to move our son back into the RISD dorms. Just like last year we rented a Dodge Caravan and stuffed it to the roof with Wynn’s belongings. What we did differently than the year before was to leave a week earlier so as not to get stuck in Labor Day traffic. In addition, rather than book yet another drab hotel room we booked accommodations on Airbnb, which by the way, was founded by a RISD grad. We booked a loft at The Steel Yard, a non-profit, industrial arts school located on the 3.5 acre campus of what was formerly The Providence Iron and Steel Company founded in 1882. 
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Home Sheep Home Pagoda
    We had planned on leaving by noon but by the time the van was packed and we pulled away from the curb it was 3:00 in the afternoon. After a long but uneventful drive, we pulled into the gated parking lot of The Steel Yard. It was dark so any exploration of the campus would have to wait until morning, besides, we were tired and anxious to see the loft.

   
 The loft, set in a reclaimed factory building, was amazing. The lower level consisted of hardwood floors, a spacious open area with full kitchen, two bedrooms and large tiled bathroom  with a huge bathtub and pedestal sink. The upper level offered two additional sleeping nooks and a TV alcove complete with sofa and plenty of cushions. Many of the loft’s original appointments had been retained, like the heavy metal doors on one bedroom and copper plated sliding doors on the other. Many reclaimed objects, both decorative and functional, have been artfully incorporated into the space. The loft received 50 five star ratings so if you need to stay over in Providence I highly recommend it.

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Rough brick buildings and gantry cranes.
     After a good night's sleep I was awakened by sunlight pouring into the bedroom through two large windows. I’ve never been much for sleeping in and this morning I was anxious to explore our surroundings. I got dressed, had a cup of coffee, grabbed my camera and stepped out into the alleyway.

   
"Hoss,The Boss" iron furnace.
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    I walked the campus under gantry cranes and past brick and metal buildings. I passed sculpture gardens and ornate handmade fencing. Toward the back of the property sat an rusty iron furnace named “Hoss” which was surrounded on three sides by rectangular blocks of crushed metal. Some were identifiable, like bicycle parts, old lockers or chain link fencing while others in their current state, gave no clues as to their original form or function. Either way they looked really cool and yielded my favorite photos from the outing.

     I like to include people in my photos to add scale and interest but unfortunately there were no classes or events happening while we were there. Guess that just gives me more reason to go back.

      As an industrial design major Wynn will definitely be working there as The Steel Yard has close ties to RISD and he plans on attending the Halloween Iron Pour. 


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