Hoffmann Architects

Choate Rosemary Hall, Archbold Building

Structural Investigation and Exterior Upgrades

When constructed in 1928, the Archbold building, designed by Boston architect Ralph Adams Cram, was the largest school infirmary in the country. Named for Anne Saunderson Archbold in recognition of care her son received during a long illness, the Archbold building has evolved through several roles over its long history. After serving as an infirmary for 45 years, Archbold became a girls’ dormitory in the 1970s when Choate became a co-ed institution. In 1998, the three-story building was renovated to incorporate the headmaster’s office and admissions, with dormitory housing on the upper floor.

To maintain and restore the historic building, Choate Rosemary Hall retained Hoffmann Architects to develop and administer a program of exterior upgrades. Brick masonry cleaning, repointing, sealant replacement, and repair, along with replacement of cracked and spalled brick, restored the integrity of the aging facade, while replacement of the unique circular windows, hollow metal doors, and basement windows improved performance and aesthetics. At the garden portico, Hoffmann Architects designed and oversaw replacement of patio pavers, iron railings, and brick garden walls, as well as reconstruction of the curved staircase at the main entrance. New LED light fixtures sympathetic to the building’s architectural style improved visibility and safety, while reducing energy consumption.

Where building exhaust damaged landscaping, Hoffmann Architects reconfigured existing grating at the garden wall. Our design professionals also reconfigured the fountain pump electrical feeds, placing them into simple ground boxes, and removed a large, abandoned concrete electrical vault.

In addition, Choate further retained Hoffmann Architects to investigate the condition of flooring slabs at the south apartments of the Archbold building, which had exhibited cracking, displacement, and other signs of distress. Before replacing the floor finishes in the apartments, the school wanted to determine whether slab repairs would be required. Based on our investigation, our engineers recommended removal of the deteriorated topping slab and cinder fill to permit further evaluation of the structural slab. We provided loading guidelines for replacement topping material, along with recommended removal and repair details.

Through selective upgrades and repair work, Hoffmann Architects provided Choate Rosemary Hall with a cost-effective approach to maintaining the building envelope on what the student newspaper calls “one of the most beautiful buildings on campus.” A classic example of the Georgian red brick style that is characteristic of the Choate campus, Archbold is central to the school’s architectural identity; restoring the building exterior was therefore a top priority for the renowned boarding school.