The Steel Yard

Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A.

Project Facts

  • Olneyville, one of Providence’s oldest and poorest neighborhoods, has many abandoned industrial buildings. When Olneyville’s Providence Steel and Iron went out of business in 2001, the property was purchased by a new non-profit called The Steel Yard. The new owners believed that rather than demolishing the existing structures, the property could be repurposed as a community space for local artists.
  • Instead of completely removing the contaminated soil on the property, a cap of 12 inches of clean fill or permeable pavement was added across the entire site.
  • A series of “moats” controls the volume of stormwater throughout the Steel Yard, which is important for preventing contaminated water run-off from entering the city’s sewer system.
  • Native pioneer and volunteer species were introduced to re-colonize the industrial property and preserve the abandoned building’s existing look and feel.