The Federal Building is a historic post office, courthouse and custom house on Kennedy Plaza at Providence, Rhode Island.It is a courthouse for the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island. It was built in 1908 by Clarke & Howe of limestone and steel and has a courtyard in the center.
Located at the east end of Kennedy Plaza (formerly known as Exchange Place), in downtown Providence, the Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse is a notable example of the Beaux Arts style. The design seems to owe aspects of its form and detail to the New York Custom House (1900-1907), designed by Cass Gilbert.
Completed in 1908, it is a five-story, rectangular structure, faced in New Hampshire granite over a steel frame, with a rusticated base. The building is almost perfectly on axis with the Second Empire style Providence City Hall (1873-1874) at the opposite end of the plaza, and was designed to complement it in style and massing.
The main lobby, located inside the west entrance, extends the width of the building. Finished in Indiana limestone, it has a 24-foot-high (7.3 m), groin-arched and coffered ceiling that is detailed with rosettes. The ceiling remains among the building’s most distinctive features. The curving main staircase opens off the south end of the lobby and leads to the upper stories.
The courtroom of the Equity Court is on the east side of the third floor. While somewhat smaller than the courtroom of the District Court, it is also a double-height space.The walls are similarly paneled in oak and set behind fluted columns and pilasters that support an entablature at the ceiling level.