May 2021

In The Works: Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul

In 2018, DBVW Architects was asked to conduct a comprehensive assessment and develop construction documents for the replacement of the existing slate shingle roof at the Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul. The Cathedral is a strong example of Romanesque architecture, carefully integrating Gothic Revival detailing across its Portland brownstone facade and a prominent structure in downtown Providence along Interstate-95. In addition to the two impressive 156-foot bell towers, the Cathedral is characterized by an expansive, steep-sloped natural stone slate shingle roof.

Despite the inherent quality of the original Monson black slate, the slate roof assembly had unfortunately neared the end of its useful service life and comprehensive replacement of the roofing was recommended. However, the original Monson black slate has not been quarried in 40 years. The DBVW Design Team worked closely with the Diocese of Providence and Consigli Construction Company to identify a suitable replacement slate to match the original color and performance as closely as possible. In addition to the slate roofing replacement, existing copper flashings, snow guards, and rainwater conduction systems were replaced in-kind, and localized repairs were completed at deteriorated wood roof framing members.

The final product is a beautiful roofscape that reflects the original appearance of the Cathedral when it was consecrated in 1889 and extends the life of this iconic structure. We are grateful for the opportunity to work on such an incredibly important building with a talented group of technicians whose knowledge of historic building practices and detailed workmanship is evident to all who visit and pass by the Cathedral.