Honorable Mention - Excellence in Architecture for Building Additions, Renovation or Adaptive Reuse

Harvard Divinity School

Swartz Hall
Harvard Divinity School - Swartz Hall
Jury Comments
““. . . powerful outdoor placement . . . subtle and quiet but transformative . . . blended old and new without compromise . . . the addition and renovation brings new life to an old but iconic structure . . . the sunken courtyard at the entry is a highlight . . .””


    • Site – 74,000 gsf; Building – 105,000 gsf / 51,559 nsf
    • Targeting LEED Gold.
    • A new two-story front door replaces an existing addition.
    • The renovation adds a new multi-faith space to support a more diverse community.
    • Historically significant spaces were restored and made accessible.
    • Original stone from the building was repurposed in a new fireplace.
    • The landscape design adds 52 trees, including species that support a diversified and resilient urban forest.


Harvard Divinity School’s mission is to educate students for intellectual leadership, professional service, and ministry. Designed in 1911, Swartz Hall was shaped by a turn-of-the-century divinity curriculum centered on Western religion and thought. In the nearly 100 years since HDS took over the building, the campus has evolved to encompass more than 45 faith traditions, welcome a diverse student population, and expand engagement with broader audiences.

Swartz Hall is Harvard’s only Collegiate Gothic building. With only minor renovations since 1911, the building was not adequately serving the school’s inclusive and diverse community. By reorganizing and consolidating functional areas and replacing a worn addition, this project adds significant academic, spiritual, and social programs with only a 3,300-sq-ft net increase in gross floor area.

The goal of renewing the century-old main campus building was preserving the historical significance and character- defining details while increasing energy efficiency and creating a welcoming, accessible, and modern environment. The renovation renews Swartz Hall and replaces an existing addition with a new 13,000-sq-ft addition to create an inviting front door for the campus. A 200-seat multipurpose room serves large events that could not be accommodated in the original building, while a dining commons promotes community and provides program space. New classrooms, upgraded with integrated technology, support multiple teaching formats. Expansive glazed walls allow daylight deep into the building, visually connecting occupants to a revitalized campus green.

The historic chapel has been restored and adapted for greater access. Five levels of library stacks were removed to create three new levels of classrooms, workplace, and a multifaith space, expanding the spaces available for prayer, meditation, and worship.

Targeting LEED Gold or higher, the design reflects a commitment to environmental stewardship. The building was rehabilitated, internally insulated, and retrofitted with high-performance windows. A new underground mechanical plant accommodates heat recovery and direct outside air handling units. Targeting Living Building Challenge guidelines, the renovation reduced construction waste and eliminated harmful materials and finishes.

The rejuvenated Swartz Hall creates a campus gateway and center of spiritual, academic, and social life for HDS, building connections and increasing access to the Harvard campus and surrounding neighborhood.

Project Team

Ann Beha Architects, now Annum Architects; Shawmut Design & Construction; Altieri; Stephen Stimson Associates; Sladen Feinstein Integrated Lighting; Acentech; Atelier Ten; Nitsch Engineering