Boston, MA

Boston Public Library


The Boston Public Library, an Italian Renaissance Revival building completed in 1895, was designed by McKim Mead & White. The Boston Public Library needed a complete restoration. SGH was the structural engineer and building enclosure consultant for a major rehabilitation and renovation.

SGH assisted with several projects at the Boston Public Library, including the following:

Plaza Waterproofing Repairs

  • Investigated and prepared plans and specifications for complete reconstruction of the main entrance plaza
  • Removed pavers and replaced the deteriorated plaza waterproofing

Arcade Restoration

  • Consulted on restoring the plaza above the inner courtyard arcade to allow for public space
  • Designed a new plaza waterproofing system
  • Examined structural capacity of the Guastavino vaulting and verified geometry and load path in the field

Roof Restoration

  • Investigated the clay tile roof, built-in gutter, and copper flashing conditions and prepared plans and specifications for replacement
  • Preserved the decorative copper elements and bronze cheneau
  • Installed skylights that were included in the original design

Foundation Repairs

  • Evaluated the condition of 100-year-old structural wood piles to assess the remaining service life
  • Identified extent and location of decay

Project Summary



Completion Date
Structures | Building Enclosures
Culture & Entertainment
Boston Public Library | Shepley Bulfinch
Specialized Capabilities
Geotechnical | Preservation | Roofing & Waterproofing

Key team members

Paul Kelley
Paul Kelley
Senior Principal