The McMullen Museum of Art venue, originally built in 1927 in the Roman Renaissance Revival style, now includes 30,000 gross square feet of space. (Gary Wayne Gilbert)

A year after the McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College debuted its new, world-class venue at 2101 Commonwealth Avenue, the building project will be recognized with a prestigious Preservation Achievement Award by the Boston Preservation Alliance.

An important and critically acclaimed cultural resource, the McMullen is one of 10 projects chosen for the award, which annually honors outstanding achievements in historic preservation and compatible new construction in Boston.

“Boston College has successfully given this 90-year-old treasure a new life for the BC community and for Boston,” said Boston Preservation Alliance Executive Director Greg Galer. “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.”  

Associate Vice President of Capital Projects Management Mary Nardone, who worked closely on the project, said the University is honored by the recognition.

“The renovation of this Renaissance Revival mansion into a state-of-the-art museum of art and University conference center was nothing short of transformational,” said Nardone. “The work included a careful renovation of the existing building, with a delicate new addition of glass and masonry that both respects and celebrates the original building. The building has a rich history and the new addition on the east end of the building provides a prominent gateway to the campus.”  

The alliance website further lauds the University and project team: “BC has given back to the community by transforming this 23,000-square-foot, 1927 building. 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 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.”

The McMullen Museum presents art exhibitions that rival those in far larger, comprehensive museums and provides the Greater Boston community with an intimate and often exclusive view of diverse and outstanding art. It has consistently won critical acclaim from national and international media for its presentation of groundbreaking interdisciplinary exhibitions on renowned artists.

Located on BC’s 65-acre Brighton Campus, the museum is in the former residence of Boston’s Cardinal Archbishop. The architecture firm DiMella Shaffer reconfigured the space and preserved the building’s exterior façade with a design that complements the architecture of the existing building designed by Maginnis and Walsh. The new museum was funded in part by a gift to Boston College from the McMullen Family Foundation. Longtime benefactors and namesakes the late John McMullen, who served on the Boston College Board of Trustees, and his wife, Jacqueline, shared a deep interest in art and collecting

Preservation Achievement awardees were chosen across a spectrum of work from throughout the city of Boston. Awards will be presented to the teams behind these projects on September 19 at the State Street Pavilion at Fenway Park. The event will include the award of the President’s Award for Excellence to the Boston Red Sox in recognition of the current ownership’s dedication to preserve a Boston symbol, Fenway Park.  

For more iinformation on the 2017 Preservation Achievement Awards, visit the Boston Preservation Alliance website.

—University Communications