Boston Public Library, Renovation and Restoration

Boston, MA | 2005

The project presented the formidable task of determining the appropriate treatments for these historically significant architectural spaces with their rich adornment of murals and sculptures. At the same time, all building spaces required extensive reorganization and upgrades for contemporary use. This included replacing all major M/E/P systems and enabling the installation of technology systems and infrastructure while preserving the historic interior. The design team collaborated with hundreds of consultants specializing in fine art conservation; historic finishes, lighting and stone work and other restoration expertise. The project included restoring the original McKim Main Entry Lobby and Grand Stair to their original grandeur, reopening architecturally significant spaces for public use, and reclaiming the Lower Level, previously used for storage. The library remained fully operational throughout the renovation. In 2001 it received the Harleston Parker Medal, the Boston Society of Architects' highest honor and the first ever awarded for a renovation project.

See More >

The art and architecture of the McKim Building - Boston Public Library
Download the PDF


  • Square Footage: 236,000 s.f.
  • Construction Cost: $50,600,000
  • > Awards

Shepley Bulfinch Team

William Barry
Joseph Bille
David Bliss
James Hunnewell, Jr.
Ralph Jackson
Mariana Monfeld



  • Harleston Parker Medal 2001, Boston Society of Architects
  • 2000

  • Preservation Award 2000, Massachusetts Historical Commission
  • 1999

  • Modernization Award 1999, Buildings Magazine
  • 1995

  • Architectural Design Honor Award 1995, Boston Society of Architects/AIA
  • 1995

  • Design Excellence Award 1995, ASID and Boston Magazine
  • 1994

  • Preservation Award 1994, Victorian Society of America

View awards list »

©2017 Shepley Bulfinch