First impressions and Entryways

I think the Providence Public Library (PPL) had to be one of the prettiest buildings I have seen in providence. I also think it provided some very nice inspiration for some concepts I was thinking about for my palace in Byblos.

A common theme that we have seen in many palaces is the idea of a courtyard or throne room. I feel this centralizing space is very important in helping situate visitors, as well as impress them, and provides a well needed focal point to the palace. I feel this is well done in PPL. When you first enter the grand structure from the Washington street entrance, you are greeted with a double layered foyer (or so It was before renovations, now the second set of doors was removed.) and then beyond that a very nice large space, with rows of tables and work spaces culminating in the stacks at the end of the hall,. The walk to the stacks is rowed with columns as well, really adding to the momentum of the space, along the floor there is very nice mosaic type work. I think the renovations that were done greatly improved the awe factor of the space by adding the banister and dip in the floor, giving this nice feeling of perspective. This type of entrance and center of a building mirrors greatly the site Tell el-Burak, which has a center courtyard and surrounded on all sides by many rooms with very thick walls (Sader, Kamlah 2010). This kind of courtyard feature is also present in the Obelisk Temple (Beyond Babylon) , I think this is a feature of the Egyptian influence on the region, and I think I will incorporate this kind of center throne room lined with columns for my palace.

Tiled floor

Arches provide nice emphasis on passage of space

Hefty lamps

Example of depth added

Another aspect of the PPL’s architecture that was present in Tell el-Burak that I will try to incorporate is this idea of a strong defensive structure. While on the historical tour, our tour guide talked a lot about the front of the building, and the meaning of many of the details and motifs that were represented in the stone front of the building. Tell el-Burak also was thought to have very thick walls and a strong outward appearance (Sader, Kamlah 2010), there is also evidence of some motifs or crests. When you walk up to PPL you are hit by how sturdy it looks with its heavy lamps and strong arch. I think this kind of sturdy and strong design is something I will be trying to achieve with my palace.

There are other things as well that I think I will explore deeper in other posts such as the role of height in my palace, as mention Tell el-Burak was built on a hill, and PPl’s raised entrance contributed to the ethos of the entrance.

Aruz, J., Benzel, K. and Evans, J.M. eds., 2008. Beyond Babylon: art, trade, and diplomacy in the second millennium BC. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Sader, H. and J. Kamlah (2010) Tell el-Burak: A new Middle Bronze Age Site from Lebanon. Near Eastern Archaeology 73(2):130-141