Shawmut has completed an historic renovation to the oldest bibliophilic club in the United States, the Grolier Club. Located in New York’s Upper East Side, the club’s brand-new exhibition hall recently reopened its doors following a $4.6 million overhaul.
Shawmut, in partnership with Ann Beha Architects, worked within a completely operational facility to renovate the historic club, which recently celebrated the centennial of its grand Manhattan home. The Georgian Revival-style building was originally constructed in 1917, and prior to now, had only seen two previous remodels of its public spaces in its one-hundred-year history. The Shawmut team conducted a complete renovation of the first-floor, including the front entrance, exhibition hall, and various public areas in the basement level. In addition to upgrading select architectural features, the project improved both building access and space usage, and enhanced the aesthetic character and level of finish of the building’s exterior and interior. A gift to all book lovers, this project delivers a new and revitalized setting to engage, inform, and inspire.
“Our team was incredibly honored to be part of a project that not only supports the 800 Grolier Club members, but the Manhattan community as a whole,” said Sharon Cadman, vice president at Shawmut. “As a hub for the arts and a center rich in tradition, our team was able to pull from our expertise and ensure the organization’s long-standing history stayed intact throughout the entire renovation process.”
The Grolier Club has been the largest society in the nation for book and graphic art enthusiasts since its opening over a century ago. The exhibition hall, which has been the heart of the Club and gathering place for all members and visitors, was a large focus of the renovation work completed by the Shawmut team. The new state-of-the-art design mixes technology and heritage through the inclusion of custom-built Goppion glass cases, a new and properly balanced ventilation system, custom stained floors and walls, and high-tech display cases and digital display screens. Shawmut also installed a new ADA lift at the entrance, a new railing scheme with rolling ladders on tracks at the mezzanine level, and a new receptionist office. Additional updates were made on the mezzanine to enhance the visibility of the club’s rare book collection, replacing wood paneling with glass, and adding subtle lighting effects to create a striking visual representation of the club’s long-standing mission to celebrate the art and history of the book. As Grolier marks its second century in its newly renovated and restored home, the Club has renewed its dedication to offering free access to exhibitions and programs that promote the book and graphic arts.
The Grolier Club represents the latest in a series of high-profile projects for Shawmut’s New York office, including recently completed work with Columbia University Irving Medical Center, NYU Langone Medical Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Pratt Institute.