Harvard Art Museums

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Project Details

Completed 2014
204,000 gsf
-104,000 gsf renovation
-100,000 gsf new construction

Renzo Piano Building Workshop
with Payette Associates


Images © Nic Lehoux

The Harvard Art Museums project renovated, restored, and expanded its facilities located at 32 Quincy Street. The project facilitated the centralization of the collections, galleries, and curatorial staff of the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum in one state-of-the-art facility.

The building at 32 Quincy Street formerly existed as a collection of several eras of construction. The original structure was built in 1926, with additions and renovations occurring in the ′30s, ′60s, ′70s, ′80s, and ′90s, and finally a loading dock addition in 2005. The new project involved removing all of the later additions to the original construction and building a new addition on the east side of the space. The roof of the 1927 building was removed and replaced with glass-enclosed study center. The existing building was seismically retrofit to current day standards, and a two-story sub-grade basement was created below the new addition utilizing slurry wall construction to contain the high water table that exists on the site. Framing for the buildings was predominantly concrete on metal deck supported on steel infill beams and girders. A combination of cross-braced frames and moment frames provide lateral load resistance for the spaces. As part of the project, Le Corbusier’s Carpenter Center ramp along Prescott Street was carefully shored and protected during construction.

The project is targeting LEED Gold certification.

Categories: MuseumsHigher Education, New ConstructionRenovation

Press:  Harvard Graduate School of Design: Robert Silman on engineering the Harvard Art Museums, November 7, 2014