Cambridge, Massachusetts


Built in 1911, Swartz Hall is the center of academic, administrative, and student life at the Harvard Divinity School, the first nonsectarian theological institution in the United States. In 2010, ABA completed a master plan that assessed existing conditions and program needs, established a preservation approach, and developed a phased plan for renovation and expansion. In the first project following the master plan, ABA renovated several classrooms in Swartz Hall, introducing new technology and flexible furnishings to accommodate traditional and emerging teaching methodologies.

Following this early project, ABA prepared a space needs program and designed a full rehabilitation and expansion of Swartz Hall, the first major renovation since the building’s completion. The design replaces a previous addition with a two-story, 13,000-square-foot expansion. At the ground level, a dining commons with café and fireplace lounge welcomes students and visitors. The upper level holds a 200-seat multipurpose room, providing a large convening space for the Divinity School and the University.

The Old Stack Wing, previously containing five levels of book shelving, has been redesigned to create three levels of classrooms, workplace, and a new multifaith worship and meditation space reflecting the multiple faith traditions at the Divinity School.

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Size: 60,945 GSF; Addition 12,443 GSF

Sustainability: This classroom renovation phase of this project received LEED Gold. The full-building phase targets LEED Gold or higher and a Living Building Challenge Materials Petal. Swartz Hall was completely rehabilitated, internally insulated, and retrofitted with new high-performance windows and a new slate roof. At least 75% of construction and demolition waste from landfills, with original granite repurposed for fireplaces and elsewhere. More than 50 trees and shrubs, with additional ground cover, were planted.

Project Team: Philip Chen AIA, Ann Beha FAIA, Ed Rice AIA, Ji-Hye Ham AIA, Ian Miller AIA; Carl Damas; Amit Oza; Mark Pantano; Kristen Starheim; Sarah Rivard (ABA); Shawmut Design and Construction (Construction Management); Structures North Consulting Engineers (Structural); Altieri (MEP); Stephen Stimson Associates (Landscape); Haley Aldrich, Inc. (Geotechnical); Nitsch Engineering (Civil); Green International Affiliates, Inc. (Site Survey); Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (Envelope); Kalin Associates (Specifications); CHA (formerly Daedalus Projects, Inc.) (Cost); Sladen Feinstein Integrated Lighting (Lighting); Acentech (Acoustics); Code Red Consultants (Code); RICCA Design Studios (Food Service); Atelier Ten (Sustainability); Syska Hennessy Group (Elevator); Campbell McCabe (Hardware); Feldman Land Surveyors (Laser Scanning); Chuck Choi (Photography)