The Langham, Boston
Submitted By: Shawmut Design and Construction
Owner: Great Eagle Holdings
Lead Design Firm: Dyer Brown Architects
Construction Manager: Shawmut Design and Construction
MEP Engineer: AFK Group
Hospitality Designer: Richmond International
Lighting Designer: Reveal Design Group
Owner’s Project Manager: Peak PM Ltd.
The project had two main goals: to preserve the historic original home of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and accentuate its architectural elements while also modernizing the hotel to meet modern luxury standards. The early 1920s R. Clipston Sturgis-designed Renaissance revival style makes up 288,000 sq ft of the hotel.
In the renovation, the construction team overhauled all 312 guest rooms and eight loft suites with new finishes, millwork and furniture. New amenities such as the GRANA restaurant, The Fed cocktail pub, Lincoln Ballroom, and The Langham Club, a private club with space on the eighth floor, were also added. All new cooling, heating, plumbing and life safety units were also added.
One of the project’s biggest challenges came during work to ready the space that was once the Federal Reserve Bank’s grand hall for the new GRANA restaurant. Pulling back the carpet at the start of renovation, the construction team uncovered a hidden gem—the original terrazzo floors from the Federal Reserve Bank.
Photo by Richard Mandelkorn
However, the team soon discovered damage to the existing terrazzo flooring when the old bar—installed after the Fed was long gone—was removed. New terrazzo was needed to match the existing flooring—no simple or straightforward problem when dealing with nearly century-old material.
Shawmut turned to the DePaoli Mosaic Co., which had maintained the terrazzo flooring for the Langham previously, to restore the floor. Damaged areas were filled with cement terrazzo designed to match the original color, while diamond-bit grinders went over the entire floor, with multiple coats of sealer applied afterward to give it the appropriate shine.
The floor renovation team was careful to protect the original brass Federal Reserve seal. Embedded in the floor since the opening of the bank in 1922, the seal remains on display in the center of the room.
Photo by Nina Choi
The team also worked closely with the Boston Landmarks Commission to ensure the facade retained its original character, with the building having won landmark status in 1978. A new grand staircase was added, which, due to its size and shape, had to be delivered in pieces. Extensive efforts were also undertaken to preserve two original murals painted by N.C. Wyeth in 1922.
A meeting was held at the start of the project to review and discuss safety expectations, while Shawmut appointed a dedicated safety manager to oversee the work.
Superintendents and forepeople held daily safety briefings, crucial for a project that had 200 people working on a site with limited laydown and staging areas and multiple trades, along with scaffolding. The team also employed a safety monitoring app, ConstructSecure, while Shawmut developed a custom-built platform designed to check for COVID-19 symptoms and manage contact tracing that was deployed on the jobsite.
The platform also used real-time data to drive actionable steps to minimize and reduce infectious disease spread—capturing live, paperless statistics to directly ensure the safety of everyone on the jobsite .
The 26-month project was completed on schedule and on budget.