Radcliffe Gymnasium was designed in 1898 by McKim Mead & White as a gym for students at Radcliffe College. The reinterpreted gymnasium is now a lecture and event salon for the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in Radcliffe Yard.
The Gymnasium’s versatile, multi-use spaces are popular with the entire Harvard community. The large second-floor lecture space — used every day for informal gatherings and study — can be easily converted into a formal setting for social events, with full provisions for catering. The upper-level former running track is now a “walking and talking” track for discussions and informal viewing of presentations and lectures.
The new design respects the fabric of the historic building, while making energy efficiency a priority. Two 1,500-ft geothermal wells support the heating and cooling systems, and energy recovery units reclaim heat from exhaust air in cold months. Energy-efficient lighting and windows are used throughout. The basement area, formerly a swimming pool, was converted into a climate-controlled archive storage facility for 8,400 linear feet of the institution’s historic documents. Elegant marble, salvaged from the swimming pool, has been reused as terrazzo flooring, signage, and exterior paving.
2007 Cambridge Historical Commission – Preservation Award