Providence Arcade


Research Installation • Oct 2021

Project Brief

A research mapping project on the Providence Arcade, the oldest standing mall in America. On-site and secondary data was gathered to capture our findings of the Arcade for an exhibitory display. Research of the space was conducted through physical, historical, sensorial, phenomenal, and introspective metrics. The physical surfaces of the architecture, history of the mall, spatial ambience, foot traffic, and personal introspections of the space guided our design process. Our documentation of this historical building guided our final product to be an oversized pamphlet of what we know. In collaboration with Cameron Astles and Karen Zhou.



Each pamphlet page embodied an individual aspect of our research. Charcoal rubbings of the building's surfaces were bound within a booklet, historical data was housed in a pop-up timeline of the Arcade's prevalence, ambience was recorded and transcribed into typographic pattern, foot traffic was codified and mapped across an hour long window, and our feelings towards the space were illustrated in an accordion fold. 


Final takeaways

Though the Providence Arcade carries a wealth of history as America's oldest mall, it was met with little commercial success just a few decades after its construction. It was important to stay true to our research of the Arcade without glorifying the end product, but displaying its obscured beauty in spite of it.