Boston Public Library, McKim Building


The McKim Building is one of Boston's preeminent historical landmarks and is widely regarded as one of three major architectural masterpieces in the City of Boston (Trinity Church and the State House being the other two). W.T. Rich Company was one of three general contractors hand-picked by the City of Boston to bid on the Boston Public Library's McKim Building renovation project. We were awarded the contract for this project based on a competitive, lump sum bidding process. The project consisted of extensive exterior roof reconstruction as well as significant courtyard renovations. The library was fully operational throughout the construction period.

The project's scope of work included restoration of the interior courtyard to its original design; landscaping, painting and restoring the courtyard fountain; cleaning and repairing the courtyard masonry; and restoration of existing library windows. In addition, the area was made handicap accessible; the Bacchante and Infant Faun statue by Frederick MacMonnies was reinstalled; the arcade roof was replaced; and a promenade atop the arcade was rehabilitated.

The roof of the McKim Building was also extensively repaired. This work included the rebuilding of the existing concrete and copper clad gutter and drainage system at the cornice of the building, along with the full restoration of the terracotta tile roof, the copper cheneau, granite cornice work, brick chimneys and copper crestings. In addition, the existing skylights were restored and new skylights were added. Intensive attention to detail was invested to ensure that restored elements retained and replicated the look, feel and character of the original historical features of the building.

Project Information

Location: Boston, MA

Completion: 2001

Contract Value: $6.5 million

Size: 45,000 SF

Type:  Renovation & Historical Restoration

Owner: City of Boston

Designer: Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott, Boston, MA

Delivery Method: Design-Bid-Build (Special Prequalification Process)

Awards and Honors:

- Boston Society of Architects - Harleston Parker Medal

“W.T. Rich tackles each and every project with an incredible sense of passion, commitment, and teamwork. I have found them to be above reproach in their professionalism, workmanship, and the standards for which they set for themselves and their sub-trades. Not once have they fallen short of their commitment to total satisfaction.”

Andy Hudak, City of Boston (Retired)
Boston Public Library, McKim Building