Harvard Debuts Revamped Campus Center

Even while being one of the most well-known learning institutions in the world, Harvard University lacked a true hub for countless students, faculty, staff and visitors to meet and congregate on campus. To address this, Harvard’s President created a vision for “One Harvard” through the reconstruction, renovation, and restoration of the former Holyoke Center, originally built in the 1960s, into a modern and functional building that would serve as an anchor for the campus and the larger Harvard Square community.

Consigli Construction was tasked with not only fulfilling this vision, but addressing many challenges such as repurposing and revitalizing an important mid-century structure and meeting the necessary demands of working on a very active building that would remain fully occupied and accessible throughout the entire project. After 36 months, the removal of 975 tons of demolition debris, and the reconstruction and renovation of six key building areas, Harvard now boasts 385,000 square feet of dedicated community space in the Smith Campus Center.

Hopkins Architects (Design Architect) & Bruner/Cott & Associates, Inc. (Executive Architect) led the design efforts of the ambitious undertaking.

Aiming to anchor Harvard’s Cambridge campus, President Drew Faust’s vision for common spaces and “One Harvard” required the major renovation and restoration of the Smith Campus Center, located in the heart of Harvard Square. The structure, originally built in two phases between 1961 and 1966 and designed by influential mid-century architect Josep Lluís Sert, is a 10-story H-shaped concrete building with two stories of below-grade parking, retail and 18 different Harvard administrative offices. All building occupants remained in-place during invasive interior and exterior construction.

The revamped facility serves as Harvard’s Welcome Center and features a compelling two-story glass enclosure at Forbes Plaza, creating an iconic “front door” to the building. Interior updates included significant renovations to the first floor Arcade and Mezzanine levels, which offers diverse University dining options, common spaces for clubs, social gatherings and student collaboration and technological capabilities for movie screenings and multimedia presentations. Sustainable elements include interior green wall landscaping and three roof gardens on the Holyoke Pavilion, Dunster Pavilion and the 10th floor, which also houses a restaurant and additional common spaces. Finally, Consigli renovated Harvard’s University Health Services (UHS) to expand and improve services to its student population. This project is targeting LEED Gold certification.

Key Details:

  • Location: Cambridge, Ma
  • Size/Type: 385,000 Sq. Ft. / Renovation & Restoration
  • Cost: Confidential
  • Delivery Method: CM at Risk
  • Duration: 36 Months
  • Architect: Hopkins Architects (Design Architect) & Bruner/Cott & Associates, Inc. (Executive Architect)