The Boston Athenaeum

The Boston Athenaeum

Add To Cart

Boston, Massachusetts


Housed in an 1846 National Landmark building, The Boston Athenaeum is one of the America’s oldest and largest private membership libraries.  Its book collection houses more than 600,000 titles, many quite rare, including portions of the personal library of George Washington. Its Art Department includes a large, historic collection of paintings, sculpture, prints, photographs, and decorative arts. Schwartz/Silver’s master plan and renovation produced new public spaces and reconfigured existing ones, organized and relocated book and art collections, created a new entry lobby and conservation lab, and established a museum-quality conservation environment. “Changing a treasure without changing its essence,” was the way the Boston Globe described the result.  Schwartz/Silver has now been re-engaged by the Athenaeum to determine the feasibility of further expansion.  



American Architecture Award, Chicago Athenaeum
Preservation Achievement Award, Boston Preservation Alliance

I believe that Schwartz/Silver combined an intimate understanding of our institution and our building (earned partly through study of our previous architects’ work) with outstanding creativity and technical abilities, and were able to imagine - and persuade us to build - a twenty-first century version of the Athenaeum that remains true to our history and to our curatorial mission.
— John H. Lannon, Associate Director, The Boston Athenaeum


Structural Engineer: LeMessurier Consultants
Mechanical, Plumbing, and Electrical Engineer: TMP Consulting Engineers
Conservation Consultant: Garrison/Lull, Inc.
Building Envelope: Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, Inc.
Lighting: Lam Partners, Inc.
Landscape Architect: Reed Hilderbrand Associates
Preservation Consultant:  Preservation Technology Associates, Inc.
Elevator: Lerch Bates North America
Geotechnical: McPhail Associates, Inc.
Civil: Judith Nitsch, Inc.
Acoustics: Cavanaugh Tocci Associates
Code: Solutions Engineering
General Contractor: Barr & Barr Builders, Inc.
Photographer: © Peter Vanderwarker