Redwood Library and Athenaeum

Restoration and Expansion

Project Overview

The Redwood Library and Athenaeum is the oldest lending library in continuous operation in America. It was built in 1750 and designed by Peter Harrison (1716-1775), who is recognized as the first architect in colonial America. The restoration and expansion of this historic landmark more than two and a half centuries later was anything but typical.

Project Specifications

Contract Amount: $1,200,000

Total Project Value: $6,800,000

Construction Manager: Walsh Brothers, Inc.

Architect: Shepley Bullfinch Richardson & Abbott

Mechanical Engineer: Landmark Facilities Group

Facility Type: Historic Landmark

Facility Size: 24,320 sq. ft.

Schedule: September 2004 – January 2006

Project Location: Newport, RI

Download Case Study (PDF)

Services Provided

Retrofit /New construction




Fire protection


Highlights / Achievements

First ever climate control and re-suppression systems

Maintained aesthetic of national historic landmark

Underground mechanical room

3D computer coordination

Complex MEP systems support museum and archival storage

2007 AGC Build New England Performance Award

2007 Doris Duke Historic Preservation Award

Value Delivered

Meeting all project budget and schedule goals, Arden performed comprehensive building system upgrades to protect historical artifacts and support evolving computer technologies. New mechanical rooms and first-ever climate-control and re-suppression systems were installed seamlessly within the historic architecture, such that they are virtually undetectable to the human eye.