MBB is pleased to announce that our work at Trinity Church Wall Street has received a Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award from The New York Landmarks Conservancy.
Award Honors Excellence in Historic Preservation Design
The prestigious Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards are the Conservancy’s highest honors for outstanding preservation. The not-for-profit New York Landmarks Conservancy has been a leader in preserving, restoring, and reusing New York City’s architectural legacy for 50 years. The annual awards are given to projects that demonstrate excellence in the restoration, preservation, or adaptive use of historic buildings.
MBB Architects Recognized for Outstanding Restoration Work at Trinity
MBB was commissioned by Trinity Church Wall Street to lead a comprehensive restoration and renewal effort encompassing the historic 1840s building and adjacent churchyard. In addition to historic preservation, the six-year project included sustainability, accessibility, lighting, acoustic, and infrastructure upgrades. New and renovated clergy and visitor spaces reflect the church’s humanistic values. As the Lucy G. Moses Award program said, “These results have enhanced the worship experience and made the church more welcoming while improving the landmark’s structure, accessibility, and resilience.”
Master Plan Bridges Past, Present and Future
Starting with an intensive research process that engaged the Trinity Church community, our team developed a phased master plan to restore the historic architecture and ornament while meeting contemporary program and space needs. Quieter, more energy-efficient mechanical equipment and protective glazing result in improved acoustics in the sanctuary, enabling people to enjoy the full tonal richness of word, song, and music. The terraces and landscape surrounding the church were enhanced with accessible bluestone paths and a cantilevered steel-and-glass canopy to shelter liturgical processions.
Preservation, Restoration, and Accessibility
MBB directed a large team of consultants to design and implement a comprehensive renovation plan that reconciles modern technology with respect for a historic landmark. The neo-Gothic building—the third church on this site since 1697—designed by Richard Upjohn, was systematically pieced back together with restored architecture and ornament, insulated walls and ceilings, new clerestory windows, an accessible chancel with modified altar and altarpiece, a new vestry room, reimagined sacristy and choir rooms, three new organs, new interior and exterior lighting, and concealed audio-visual equipment for the broadcast of services and concerts.
The renovation includes an intricate reconfiguration of the chancel—the elevated area surrounding the altar—to make the altar and pulpit accessible to all celebrants. Formerly stepped levels were replaced with a single, accessible level backed by the ornate Astor Reredos and a wall of brilliantly colored stained-glass panels that received off-site conservation treatment. The Church’s decision to reposition the marble altar in the center of the chancel, facing the congregation, prompted modifications to both the altar and the reredos to which it was formerly attached. A new ADA lift is tucked behind a pair of movable sedilia chairs.
Historic Details and Modern Interventions
Above the nave’s restored brownstone arches, newly painted trompe l’oeil plaster walls simulate brownstone blocks, as in Upjohn’s original design. Stained glass windows are protected from the elements by unobtrusive, high-performance exterior glazing that also quiets the interior and reduces heating and cooling loads. Non-historic clerestory windows were replaced with new, contextually appropriate stained glass featuring a diamond quarry and trefoil pattern.
The formerly dark nave is softly illuminated by custom-designed, height-adjustable LED pendants as well as clerestory sconces that preserve the traditional ambiance, enabling people to read without glare. Beneath the reconstructed stone tile floor, a newly dug utility trench contains electrical conduits and A/V cabling which, along with theatrical lighting nestled among the clustered columns, supports the church’s renowned musical programs.
New and Renovated Rooms Complement Restoration
MBB redesigned back-of-house areas to live up to the church’s architectural gravitas. A new, high-ceilinged vestry room hosts clergy meetings in a formerly underutilized space behind the chancel. The new sacristy, a crucial link in the refocused worship experience, features custom wood cabinetry and a large central table around which clergy gather before services and begin their procession. Adjustable acoustic panels and a vaulted ceiling enhance the renovated choir practice room.
Exterior Architecture and Landscape at Trinity Church Wall Street
Exterior planning and design work includes the addition of a new west terrace and new loggia bay, matching the preexisting architecture, to shelter the northwest corner entrance. Our team also renovated the pedestrian bridge over Trinity Place. The verdant churchyard—an oasis in Lower Manhattan, resting place of New York luminaries like Robert Fulton and Alexander Hamilton—features improved landscaping, drainage and lighting. Along the south side of the church, a minimalist glass canopy is supported by hidden grade beams that span the historic burial vaults beneath the accessible new bluestone terrace.
A Stellar Restoration Design Team
The award-winning project team includes, but is not limited to:
Client: Trinity Church Wall Street; Architect: MBB Architects; Construction Manager: Sciame Construction; Restoration Consultant: Building Conservation Associates; Structural Engineer: Silman; MEP Engineer: AKF; Stained-Glass Restoration Consultant: Brianne Van Vorst, Liberty Stained Glass Conservation; Stained-Glass Expert: Drew Anderson, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Stained-Glass Artist: Thomas Denny; Stained Glass Installation Contractor: Femenella & Associates; Stained-Glass Restoration Contractors: Clagnan Stained Glass Studio, Northeast Stained Glass, Serpentino Stained Glass; Lighting Designer: Melanie Freundlich Lighting Design; Acoustic Consultant: Threshold Acoustics; Organ Design Consultant: Johnathon Ambrosino; Organ Acoustical Consultant: Kirkegaard Acoustic Design; Organ Designers and Fabricators: Orgelbau Glatter-Gotz; Richards, Fowkes & Co.; Historic Artwork Conservation: EverGreene Architectural Arts; Historic Millwork: Strauss-Creative Finishes; New Millwork Contractor: Zepsa Industries; Stone Restoration: Rugo Stone; Masonry Restoration Contractor: Integrated Conservation Contracting; Glass Awning Fabricator: Seele; Structural Glass Design Consultant: Eckersley O’ Callaghan; Electrical Contractor: B&G Electrical; Historic Paint Conservation: John Canning & Co.; Plaster and Paint Restoration: John Tiedemann; Cast-Iron Restoration: Robinson Iron.Back to News