Warren D. Warner, 1929-2012, was a former Rhode Island School of Design instructor and the architect credited with redesigning Providence and revitalizing the waterfront. Warner and fellow RISD professor Friedrich St. Florian used a restaurant table napkin to sketch their vision for a re-imagined downtown Providence waterfront. Warner’s enduring legacy is Providence’s River Relocation and Waterplace Park Project for which he received the 1997 Presidential Design Achievement Award from Bill Clinton. He was also responsible for the I-Way Bridge across the Providence River, the Rt. 195 Relocation Project, redesigning the Manchester Street Station power plant, the redesign of India Point Park and his first big job in the city, in 1959, heading the Providence Preservation Society’s study that resulted in the restoration of College Hill.
Bill was devoted to the community of Exeter. He was on the planning board and the citizens’ committee during the “Vision for Exeter” study and earned praise for his concept for the Exeter-West Greenwich Junior-Senior High School. He also designed the North Kingstown Police and Fire headquarters. Warner was also interested in historic preservation and owned Locust Valley Farm on Ted Rod Road. He renovated old buildings and built new ones to blend in with the old. In 2000, when Warner received the highest award from the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI).
Bill loved what he did and was devoted to helping the state he loved. He earned 50 national and regional awards for his designs. He died in 2012 at the age of 83.