Arrowstreet worked with the Harvard Cooperative Society to modernize their Harvard Square store originally built in 1926 and last renovated in the 1990s. Established in 1882 by a group of students to reduce student living costs while attending Harvard, the Coop’s Mission today is to serve both the Harvard and MIT communities by providing quality products and services.

Arrowstreet helped the Coop and the store’s operator, Barnes and Noble Collegiate Booksellers, to consolidate and update their entire operation into the historic building on the Square. As the collegiate market has changed, especially due to the decline of textbook sales, the fully renovated store serves to better display and organize the types of merchandise students and visitors want today and free up the 1960s textbook building on Palmer Street for redevelopment.

The renovation project was initially planned for phased construction to maintain store operations but transitioned to a consolidated construction schedule by closing the store while in-person shopping was low. Arrowstreet’s scope involved overseeing the architectural renovation, rethinking the store’s entry sequence and wayfinding, vertical circulation upgrades, consolidating office space, increasing natural light on the sales floor, updating building systems, and returning the historic front entrance to its original grandeur. While much of the building “looks” the same, the renovation puts the Coop in a strong position to quickly and easily update the way the store operates, and what it sells and continue to serve the Harvard and MIT communities for another 100 years.

Project Details


Cambridge, MA


Harvard University


37,000 SF


Photos by Ed Wonsek