Harvard Art Museum; Harvard Art Museum;

Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA

Harvard’s historic museums reimagined for a new era

Arup worked with world-renowned architect Renzo Piano and Boston architect Payette on this six-year long renovation and expansion project, which wove together three Harvard museums—the Fogg, the Busch-Reisinger, and the Sackler—to form a single museum. The design team collaborated closely to preserve key architectural features, such as the Fogg’s 16th century-inspired façade and courtyard, while modernising the university’s exhibition areas and providing an additional 200,000ft2 .

Arup was a key member of the project’s design team, providing a variety of engineering and consulting services, including lighting and daylighting design, MEP engineering, façade engineering services, fire and life safety and sustainability consulting.

Project Summary

3 museums combined to form single museum

200,000square feet of additional space

LEED Goldcertified

Working to achieve a more sustainable future

Our sustainability experts developed a range of strategies to maximise the updated museum’s performance. The completed project emits 30% fewer emissions per square foot than the original three buildings. The project’s high level of sustainability helped to advance Harvard’s goal of reducing university-wide greenhouse gas emissions to 20% below the 2006 baseline within 10 years and put the building on the path to achieve LEED Gold certification.

Finessing the fire safety design

Arup’s fire engineering consultants proposed and received state approval for six alternative methods of fire safety design that helped limit the effects of life safety systems on the architectural design, while still enabling the building to meet the level of safety demanded by code. The team’s innovative approach included the development of a bespoke smoke management strategy for the Foggs’ historic courtyard atrium. Arup’s fire experts used advanced fire and egress modelling to justify a high degree of openness to adjacent areas on three levels, enabling them to employ an approach that minimises the aesthetic impacts of the smoke control and detection systems within the atrium.

Safeguarding and showcasing art

Art preservation is always a critical concern when it comes to developing lighting and HVAC strategies for museums. To ensure that the university’s collection was safeguarded while still being shown to its best advantage, Arup devised an innovative mechanical strategy that works in conjunction with the building’s high-performance envelope to control internal environmental conditions within gallery spaces. The team’s lighting designers employed a combination of artificial lighting and daylighting to safely highlight the works on display.

This was an enormously complex project, and one that we could not have completed successfully without the talents of the design teams. ” Maureen Donovan Deputy Director of the Harvard Art Museums