Phillips Academy

Oliver Wendell Holmes Library Renovation

Project at a Glance

Andover, MA


Ann Beha Architects

Project Type


Project Overview

  • Use of in-house self-perform resources to confirm existing building conditions and preserve historic finishes during construction
  • Unique, floor-by-floor logistics and access plans for materials and equipment, along with phasing and traffic plans for work around the occupied campus
  • Development of a protection plan for the 250-year old Great Elm—the oldest tree on the Andover campus—situated in the middle of project site

Oliver Wendell Holmes Library (OWHL) sits in the heart of Phillips Academy’s picturesque campus and serves over 1,100 students in grades 9-12. OWHL was originally built in 1929 and currently houses over 90,000 books; archival collections; a variety of student learning and common spaces; and a basement-level makerspace with 3D printers, sewing machines, a laser cutter and vinyl cutter.

To modernize the historic library and increase collaboration areas, the OWHL will undergo a gut renovation and structural reconfiguration through the central core of the building—a complex task due to the varied ages of the building’s additions. Following the demolition of the five-level book stack core, new M/E/P systems and natural light will be integrated, building accessibility issues will be addressed and an open floorplan will be created. The resulting space will provide increased classroom and group study areas; an expanded makerspace; a new café; more student seating; office and teaching space for the Tang Institute; a climate controlled archive room; and feature updated finishes throughout. Historic elements interior elements including the Travis Mural and substantial quantities of millwork in the Garver Room, Dole Room and Freeman Room will require removal, preservation and re-installation efforts to ensure these finishes are not compromised during construction.