Posts tagged with "Trinity Church":

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Historic Trinity Church begins decades-overdue restoration

Today, Manhattan’s historic Trinity Church commenced an approximately two-year restoration project. The last restoration of the church occurred over seven decades ago in 1946. New York’s Murphy Burnham & Buttrick is leading the restoration of three-century old church. Trinity Church is one of the oldest parishes in New York City. The congregation moved to its Richard Upjohn-designed Gothic Revival house of worship in 1846. Since then, Trinity has built three additions to Upjohn’s original design, including the All Saints’ Chapel. Upjohn was a cofounder of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and a prodigious ecclesiastical architect in New York and New England. The nearly $100 million project will bring the church to contemporary accessibility and environmental standards through the construction of wheelchair-accessible ramps along the church’s entrances, gender-neutral restrooms, and a new steel-and-glass canopy adjacent to the south elevation. While a significant portion of the project is dedicated to new alterations, Murphy Burnham & Buttrick are fully repairing and restoring the church’s stained-glass windows, redesigning historic pews, and replacing non-original clerestory fenestration. Additionally, the church’s chancel will be adapted to Upjohn’s original design, boosting seating capacity by 140 seats. In a statement, Trinity Church Vicar Reverend Phil Jackson said the decades of deferred window maintenance shrouded the church’s interior detailing under a layer of shadow. Through the restoration, Jackson hopes to highlight the nave and main body’s impressive Gothic rib vaults and collenettes by giving “back its light.” Murphy Burnham & Buttrick has amassed a wide scope of residential and religious restorations across New York City, including an expansive top-down project for St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which involved the conservation of interior and exterior masonry and stained glass windows, and even the insertion of a nine-well geothermal plant below the cathedral. During the restoration process, Trinity Church’s nave and main body will be closed off to parishioners and visitors. The project is slated to be completed  by spring 2020, and Trinity Church hopes to reopen the nave soon after.
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Landmarks approves changes to Manhattan’s Trinity Church

Today the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approved a major revamp of Trinity Church, the storied Manhattan house of worship where Alexander Hamilton is buried.

The parish tapped Murphy Burnham & Buttrick (MBB) to lead the renovations. In addition to interior repairs, the New York firm plans to add wheelchair-accessible ramps around the perimeter of the building and install a low canopy on the church's south side to shelter its weekly processions from the elements. Unlike many New York–area churches that struggle with declining attendance, Trinity is thriving. The Episcopal congregation attracts around 400 people on a typical Sunday, said Trinity Church Vicar Philip Jackson. The goal of the renovation is to enhance the experience of worship, address deferred maintenance, and make the church and property accessible via an ADA-compliant path around the perimeter. Parishioners, many who live in Battery Park City, Tribeca, and the Financial District, the church's home neighborhood, participate in a formal Episcopal service. Jackson explained that a hallmark of Sundays at Trinity Sunday is the long procession that winds from the outside into the main hall. To protect the priests and worshipers walking outside from inclement weather, the church asked MBB to construct a glass-and-painted-steel canopy along the lower portion of the windows on the original building's south terrace and along the Manning Wing, a 1966 addition. The area will also be re-paved in bluestone (PDF). “We designed an awning as minimal and deferential to existing architecture as possible,” said MBB Founding Partner Jeffrey Murphy.

The parish is almost as old as New York itself. Trinity was founded over 300 years ago, and the church moved into its current quarters in 1846. The original structure, at 75 Broadway, was designed by Richard Upjohn in the Gothic Revival style and landmarked in 1966. Three subsequent additions, the latest from the same year as the landmarking, honored the original design, but the interior hasn't undergone a major renovation since the mid-1940s.

Inside, MBB will replace deteriorating stained glass, and restore doors and masonry that are aging poorly. The firm, which is known for its sensitive renovations of historic structures, completed a top-to-bottom restoration of James Renwick's St. Patrick's Cathedral in 2015. Although Trinity Church is first and foremost a house of worship, it is also a major tourist destination. Visitors have always stopped by to pay respects to permanent resident Alexander Hamilton, but the founding father's gravesite has become even more popular since Lin Manuel Miranda's Broadway musical Hamilton debuted. To legitimize the cemetery's well-worn desire paths and accommodate an influx of visitors, the team is improving the graveyard's walkways in accordance with an LPC-approved landscape master plan. The architects are also working with an archeologist before breaking ground to scope the graves in the yard and the markers around the church, and any stones that need to be moved will be re-instated before the site project re-opens to the public. On the west side, MBB will expand the terrace's loggia by one bay so people can be shielded from the elements, and it will add a paved plaza, pictured above at right. The team will also remove fencing around the site, and retool the lighting scheme to highlight the church's signature brownstone buttresses. "In general it’s a really thoughtful, well-done proposal. All the details are really well-thought through and totally appropriate," said LPC Commissioner Michael Goldblum. Preservation advocacy group Historic Districts Council (HDC) mostly agreed, but thought MBB and Trinity could refine the design of the canopy and western terrace. "It is not clear from the submitted drawings why there is a programmatic need for an awning that will run the length of the entire facade of the sanctuary," said HDC's Patrick Waldo. "The canopy competes with and obscures [the buttresses] and the design appears as a modernist expression which HDC feels does not fit beside an ecclesiastical structure." The second speaker, Christabel Gough, of the preservation group Society for the Architecture of the City, agreed, and added that the paved western plaza was "fitted out exactly like a corporate plaza made to obtain a zoning bonus." After a short discussion, the LPC approved MBB and Trinity's proposal with modifications. The team will have to work with staff to rethink the design of the canopy, paving, and landscape.
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New PBS Series To Showcase Ten Buildings That Changed America

These days it seems increasingly rare that we take a moment out of our busy schedules to pause and appreciate our surroundings: downtown skyscrapers, grand civic buildings, or the mundane background buildings along our streets. To many, those soaring steel towers are old news, but have you ever stopped to picture a Manhattan without skyscrapers, or a courthouse in Washington, DC that didn’t resemble a Greek or Roman temple, or how about an America without shopping malls? (Unimaginable. Right?) Dan Protress, writer and producer of the new PBS television series 10 Buildings that Changed America, certainly has. The series, hosted by Emmy-award winning producer Geoffrey Baer, proves that architecture is the cultural back-bone of any society.  The show was created to celebrate and explore ten of the most influential American buildings—and the architect’s that designed them—that dramatically altered the architectural landscape of this country. Featuring buildings like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House in Chicago, which transformed the idea of the American home, the Southdale Center in Edina, MN, the nation's first enclosed shopping-center, and the Wainright Building in St. Louis, which, according to historian Tim Samuelson, “taught the skyscraper to soar,” the series delves into the history of these once radically perceived buildings and highlights the roles they have played in molding present-day American society. The Society of Architectural Historians, along with a group of architectural experts, has compiled a list of the ten most iconic and influential structures built by different architects ranging from various eras in American history: 1. Virginia State Capitol, Richmond, CA (1788) 2. Trinity Church, Boston, MA (1877) 3. Wainwright Building, St. Louis, MO (1891) 4. Robie House, Chicago, IL (1910) 5. Highland Park Ford Plant, Highland Park, MI (1910) 6. Southdale Center, Edina, MN (1956) 7. Seagram Building, New York, NY (1958) 8. Dulles International Airport, Chantilly, VA (1962) 9. Vanna Venturi House, Philadelphia, PA (1964) 10. Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, CA (2003) The show is scheduled to air on Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 10:00 p.m. EST. Tune in and discover the pioneering architectural leaders, breakthrough concepts, groundbreaking buildings, and touching stories that make up the architectural history of the United States. Who knows, you might just be tempted to take a moment out of that busy schedule to admire your surroundings. All images courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
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Montgomery Monument Returns

Amidst the flurry of activity surrounding the World Trade Center another monument is nearing completion, though this one is not exactly brand new. By the end of this week restorers of the Montgomery Monument at Trinity’s St. Paul’s Chapel will be securing the last arrow tip and guttae to the nation’s first monument. Major General Richard Montgomery died under British fire in 1775 leading the charge at the Battle of Quebec. Benjamin Franklin championed the monument to him from its design to its installation, in spite of the intervening war and paltry coffers. It was also Franklin who scouted the Versailles sculptor Jean-Jacques Caffieri. By 1776 he convinced the Continental Congress to commission the monument. After Caffieri completed the sculpture in 1777, Franklin had the chutzpa to show it off in Paris while the war still raged. One year from declaring independence and the young nation was already commemorating its own. For the remainder of the war the monument was stowed away in North Carolina. By 1787, it found its way to front of St. Paul’s and Pierre L’Enfant, the so-to-be planner of Washington D.C., oversaw the installation. Today, St. Paul’s has become of shrine of an entirely different sort. In the ten years after the 9/11 attacks the church took on the weight of becoming the de facto gathering place for millions of World Trade pilgrims. Its place at the nation’s birth, well documented as it may be, took a back seat to contemporary history. But colonial New York was never the city’s prime tourism draw. “We have no heritage trail. What are we going to see, where Washington lost Brooklyn? It would be a totally inverse heritage trail,” said Sally Webster, a professor emeritus at Lehman College CUNY, who recently wrote book on the monument. “We were a loyalist city.” The monument brings with it a historic subtext and dichotomy that fascinates Webster: that of a city that went from loyalist stronghold to the nation’s first capital in a span of a decade and a half. The monument is a rather restrained tribute with small baroque elements. There are not any literal representation of Montgomery. Instead, two limestone carvings that cluster at the base of the column depict symbols of a heroic warrior: shields, a helmet, club, arrows, oak branches and a broken sword. Between this confection a staid rose column rises to support an urn in front of flat obelisk carved of St. Anne des Pyreenees, a heavily veined gray marble from France. The years since Washington sat in the chapel have been unkind to the monument. Amanda Trienens, senior conservator at Integrated Conservation Resources, said the stone was originally highly polished and was described as red, white, blue, and black. She added that over time carbonate stones, like the marble used on the monument, dissolves on the surface creating the monochromatic pastel effect. “There was a question of do we bring it back to the high polish, or do we retain some of the aging, so we struck a balance,” said Trienens. “We did a honing to remove some of the rough surfaces that refracts from the light.” But the restorers, along with the client and the Landmarks Preservation Commission decided against retuning it its original luster, allowing the patina of time to win out over gloss.