With the sale of the Archdiocese of Boston’s grand mansion, formerly home to cardinals and once visited by Pope John Paul II, to Boston College in 2007, the future of this building was unclear. Yet, BC has given back to the community by transforming this 23,000 square foot, 1927 building into a modern conference center and art museum for the college’s Brighton Campus. The rehabilitation effort included restoration to the facade, repairs to limestone, marble, and mahogany, and the addition of a 7,000 square foot glass circulation space that sensitively abuts the historic structure. The project team was able to raise the roof to provide needed height in the second floor art gallery space without changing the character of the building from the west approach. The vibrancy of the new use not only saved this building from demolition but created a unique experience for visitors where old and new come together in a dynamic way. An introverted, private building is now open to the public, carefully restored, and sustainably programmed for active use into the future.
“Finding successful new uses for large, monumental, institutional buildings isn’t easy, and the cost to rehabilitate them and the value of the land on which they sit often leads to unfortunate outcomes for historic fabric,” said Greg Galer, Executive Director of the Boston Preservation Alliance. “Boston College has successfully given this 90-year-old treasure a new life for the BC community and for Boston.”