With the luck of the Irish, St. Patrick’s Cathedral has activated their new geothermal plant just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. The state-of-the-art system will use thermal energy harvested from underground wells to regulate the temperature of the Cathedral and its neighboring buildings. In order to harness enough energy to do this, ten wells were drilled to 2,200 feet on the north and south edges of the Fifth Avenue cathedral along 50th and 51st Streets. Those wells distribute heat to a Dedicated Heat Recovery Chiller, which then sends it out to the 76,000 square feet of cathedral for heating or cooling. Unlike most geothermal systems, St. Patrick’s system is able to heat and cool different spaces around the property simultaneously. According to a press release, a fully functioning system will be able to produce 2.9 million BTU’s of air conditioning per hour and 3.2 million BTU’s of heat per hour. To utilize the geothermal power for the project, engineers and designers had to manipulate the existing infrastructure while still adhering to strict historic preservation codes. The design and construction team included Murphy, Burnham, & Buttrick, Landmark Facilities Group, PW Grossner, Silman, and Langan Engineering, and Structure Tone of New York. “We conducted a feasibility study and found that a geothermal system let us meet our goals with the smallest impact,” said Richard A. Sileo, senior engineer with Landmark Facilities Group, in a press release. It was also noted in the press release that the Archdiocese of New York and St. Patrick’s Cathedral also hoped that choosing a sustainably responsible choice for energy, that the project could inspire others around the world to do the same. “A consistent ethic of life does not compartmentalize these issues. It prioritizes life and the preservation of life at every level,” said cathedral Rector Monsignor Robert T. Richie in a press release. “One of the most basic ways in which we are called to do so is through responsible stewardship of our natural resources.” The geothermal plant was completed February 2017 and is part of a larger restoration effort for the cathedral. To read more about what is coming for St. Patrick’s, you can visit their website here.
Posts tagged with "St. Patrick's Cathedral":
This is the sixteenth in a series of guests posts that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours! When Sarah Rosenblatt of Murphy Burnham & Buttrick (MBB) and Ricardo Viera of Building Conservation Associates, Inc. (BCA) say that they touched every square inch of St. Patrick’s Cathedral during its three-year restoration, they aren’t kidding. From surveying each piece of stained glass window to washing individual blocks of marble and cleaning the 7,855-pipe gallery organ, this project was nothing short of detailed—and all done without closing the cathedral for a single day. Today’s tour highlighted the comprehensive restoration of the 137-year-old cathedral and the countless hours of collaboration that it took to accomplish this massive achievement. Our tour began across the street from the cathedral’s main entrance. From the Atlas statue at Rockefeller Center, we studied the building’s south side façade. Rosenblatt and Viera explained the original design and construction process by American architect James Renwick, Jr. Thanks to a thorough cleaning job using micro-abrasion technology, from our perspective you could easily see the color and texture gradations in the various types of marble chosen through each construction phase in the mid-to-late 1800s. Once a dreary gray due to years of pollution and exposure to rainwater, the seven types of marble and three granites that make up this historic cathedral are more lustrous than ever. Not only did the exterior become significantly lighter during the restoration, but the interior was fully brightened as well. “The building really sings now,” said Rosenblatt as we entered the cathedral’s nave. Renwick’s original vision for the Gothic Revival construction featured a white, bright, and airy interior with natural light filtering in from the stained glass windows and the lay lights in the ten chapels that surround the pews. After reviewing Renwick’s archival drawings, the team discovered and revealed those lay lights, which had been covered for the last 55 years. The deteriorating interior ceiling—plaster fixed to wood lath ribs—was also inspected for repairs and then cleaned and repainted, further brightening the 397-foot space. To convince the Archdiocese to allow such a radical and time-consuming restoration on the interior, the project team first completed one small section of the north transept, unveiling a night-to-day transformation. BCA’s Viera showed before and after photos to the tour group, calling what they did a “big understatement” compared to the project’s full potential. It’s been over 70 years since the cathedral’s last major renovation in the 1940s. Overdue for a new birth of sorts, it went through 33,000 individual repairs. New fire suppression and geothermal mechanical systems were also installed to increase safety and reduce energy consumption. Our tour ended on Madison Avenue, examining the exterior detailing of Lady Chapel. After observing all the ornamentation in the interior roof bosses, on the column capitals, and the spires that top out around the building, Rosenblatt noted how much unknown embellishment they found during surveying. “There’s so much going on that you don’t see from down here on the street or in the nave,” she said. “But I guess the point is that God can see it.” About the author: Sydney Franklin is a content producer at the NYC Department of Design and Construction. She recently graduated from Syracuse University with a master’s degree in architectural journalism.
Pictorial> Conservation work at New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral is finally (almost) complete
Shrouded in scaffolding for three years, renovations on St. Patrick's Cathedral are nearly complete. Initiated in 2006, renovations stalled due to the 2007 economic recession, but began again in earnest in 2012. Pope Francis' upcoming New York visit advanced the project timeline. The Archdiocese of New York commissioned Murphy Burnham & Buttrick to spearhead the renovation. Built in 1879, the original structure was designed by James Renwick, Jr., one of 19th century America's preeminent architects. Jeffery Murphy, the renovation's lead architect, stresses that St. Patrick's Cathedral is "conservation, not restoration." While restoration brings a building back to a specific time, conservation incorporates features from multiple time periods to display a full history of the space. Commenting on the renovations, Monsignor Robert Ritchie referenced Cardinal Dolan's opinion that "the conservation of St. Patrick's Cathedral is about spiritual renewal." During renovations, the church welcomed visitors and held its usual seven masses per day. The project is also a financial commitment: the Archdiocese estimates that interior and exterior renovations have cost $175 million so far. Over nine years, approximately 140 designers and consultants, along with a team of 20 engineers, oversaw more than 30,000 interior and exterior repairs and modifications. Raymond Pepi, founder and president of Building Conservation Associates, led the forensic analysis of the Cathedral. That analysis enabled the design team to make restoration and conservation decisions on the basis of the strength and integrity of the building's woodwork, plaster, stone, and glass. So far, around 150 masons, painters, carpenters, and other builders have labored on the project. At times, there were over 100 people working at once on the Cathedral. To coordinate the activity, architect Mary Burnham says the team used BIM 360 Field, an app that allows each team member to identify problems, flag repairs, suggest conservation methods, and allow the design team to follow up on the work as it's completed. Transparency is a salient feature of the new design. New programmatic elements include sliding glass doors at the main entrance on Fifth Avenue so that, even in cold weather, the 9,000 pound bronze doors to the cathedral are always open. The team blasted the facade with a mixture of glass and water to reveal any damage to the building. The original building, says Murphy, was supposed to look as if it was "poured into a mold and deposited on the sidewalk." Uneven aging of the stone and grout caused the exterior to appear more variegated than intended. The current, cleaned facade recaptures the 1879 look of the building. The interiors were curated to increase the space's comfort and reduce visual clutter. The design team worked with the clergy to eliminate plastic signage and statuary placed haphazardly in the interior. Signs and statuary were repositioned to harmonize with the space. Preservationists restored the glass and glazing on 3,200–3,300 stained glass panels in situ. Approximately 5 to 6 percent of panels were removed and restored by Ettore Christopher Botti of Botti Studios. Significantly, the Archdiocese of New York has invested in green energy, with ten geothermal wells planned for the site. The wells extend 2,200 feet underground and will provide 30 percent of energy for cathedral.