Skip to Content

Slideshow: Future Architects Imagine Providence’s Invisible City

The legendary East Side Tunnel employed as muse for graduate architecture design studio project
Photo by: Drew Pennell

BRISTOL, R.I. – Take a journey through the re-imagined places within Providence’s legendary East Side Tunnel that were created by future architects at Roger Williams University for a design studio last fall.

Without limitations placed on their ideas, 10 graduate architecture students were allowed free range of imagination to reinvent (for a course) a mile-long subterranean railroad tunnel that hadn’t been pressed into service for more than three decades. Naming the course Invisible City – an homage to Italo Calvino’s novel which painted imaginary conversations on the magic of cities between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan – Assistant Professor Jonathan Bell prescribed no parameters to his students other than to design the entire length of the tunnel and re-unite the abandoned space back within the connective tissue of the city, from the deep-rooted neighborhoods on Gano Street to the downtown commercial hub on North Main Street.

For more on the genesis of the project and the creative visions behind some of the students’ work, read "Invisible City" featured in the latest issue of RWU Magazine.

View the slideshow below for the fantastic renderings of the students’ ideas, historic images of the East Side Tunnel and a contemporary look at the shuttered tunnel.