Addition: 11,500 SF; Renovation: 8,000 SF
Renovation, preservation and new construction
Located at the heart of the Town Center in Harvard, Massachusetts, the building known as Old Bromfield started life in 1877 as a public school house. The building was originally designed by Peabody and Stearns and constructed with a grant from Margaret Bromfield Blanchard. Generations of the town’s children passed through its doors until it closed in 2003 due to the structure’s inability to serve as a modern academic building. By 2003, Harvard’s existing library had also become outdated, with little room to grow on its present site to accommodate the ever-growing needs of the town, and the town saw the opportunity to save Old Bromfield by reusing it as a site for a replacement library. In 2007 the original building, with an 11,500-square-foot addition, reopened as the town’s new public library.
The renovation preserves the building into its next century, and the addition perpetuates and expands the educational, civic and recreational qualities of the library. The building’s Queen Ann-style architectural and ornamental details were restored both inside and out. The woodwork of the floors and book cases was refinished and repaired, and original lighting fixtures were replicated and augmented to achieve similar quality of light. Acoustical ceiling tile was removed from the second floor to reveal the splendor of grand wooden trusses and the newly created room was renamed Volunteers Hall.
The design of the addition is scaled and detailed to complement the original building. The space houses the library’s reference resources, main stacks, reading rooms, and study areas. Its additional workspaces have allowed the library to expand its inner-library loan program, and to develop additional book groups and more creative programs for children and teenagers.
AIA New England Design Award; Massachusetts Historical Commission Historic Preservation Award; Building Design and Construction Annual Reconstruction Award