Education Restoration/Renovation

Harvard Divinity School’s Swartz Hall Completed

Cambridge, MA – Ann Beha Architects celebrated the completion of the renewal and expansion of Harvard Divinity School’s (HDS) Swartz Hall.

ABA completed preservation work in the historic building, and improvements to mechanical systems and building envelope, including replacement of the original Vermont slate roof , will reduce energy consumption, in alignment with Harvard University’s Sustainability Principles. Targeting LEED Gold or higher, the building was completely rehabilitated, internally insulated, and retrofitted with new high-performance windows. Damaged and worn stained glass windows were repaired throughout the building.

The firm’s design replaced a previous addition with a 2-story, 13,000sf expansion that includes a dining commons with café and lounge on the first floor. At the center of the commons stands a fireplace built of granite repurposed from the original building, reflecting one of the project’s sustainability goals.

The second floor of the new addition features a 200-seat multipurpose space and new classrooms with fully integrated technology, including projectors, monitors, cameras, touch-panel control systems, microphones, chargers, and assisted-listening systems. A new terrace and gas fireplace with a surround of granite quarried in Deer Isle, Maine, functions as a front porch while adding new outdoor gathering space to the campus. A glazed ramp in the original chapel provides access for visitors of all abilities.

HDS is the first nonsectarian theological institution in the United States. As part of this major renovation, ABA designed an architectural environment reflective of the school’s multireligious community and the many faith traditions practiced by students, staff, and faculty.