The social anthropology department is thinking about group interactions and new furniture as it makes plans to move from William James Hall on Kirkland Street to Tozzer Library on Divinity Ave.
The relocation—slated to be completed in 2014— represents an effort to foster greater departmental unity between social anthropology and anthropology’s archeology program, which is currently located adjacent to Tozzer in the Peabody Museum.
The project is estimated to cost at least $12 million, according to anthropology department chair Gary Urton, and officially began about three weeks ago. It will feature a complete renovation of Tozzer Library including the addition of two new floors dedicated to social anthropology. Faculty expect to move to their new offices in May of 2014.
Faculty response to the move has been “really enthusiastic,” said Urton.
“They’re getting new offices in the Tozzer building,” he said. “They will have a much clearer sense of themselves as being a unit that’s devoted to the work that they are doing.”
Lynne M. Schmelz, librarian for the sciences at Harvard, said that she is similarly eager for the construction to conclude.
“There will be new space for the students to visit,” she said. “That’s exciting for the library.”
The anthropology department began considering consolidation after human and evolutionary biology, formerly known as biological anthropology, became its own separate department in 2009.
“We just felt that it was very important to reestablish, to reexamine, what unites us,” Urton said.
Anthropology professor Mary M. Steedly—a member of a project planning committee comprised of faculty members, project architects, and designers—said she believes the construction on Tozzer Library will create “newly renovated spaces up-to-the-minute technologically and designed with efficiency and comfort in mind.” She added that the project will also allow the social anthropology program to make greater use of the Peabody Museum’s collections.
Social anthropology’s new home will accommodate about 15 faculty, with some additional office space for emeritus faculty members and guest faculty, said Urton.
“One of the nicest things about the plan is that it creates—in the middle of the space—an open common area with a skylight that’s really going to be beautiful,” said Steedly. “It’s been a really exciting experience seeing this all come together—it’s going to be a great improvement over the current situation.”
—Staff writer Francesca Annicchiarico can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her at @FRAnnichiarico.
—Staff writer John P. Finnegan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at @finneganspake.