Thanks to Traditional Building magazine and writer Nancy A. Ruhling for a great cover feature on our firm’s revitalization of Trinity Church Wall Street.
The story, titled “Trinity Church Gothic Revival Masterpiece,” describes the project as “a new master plan and an enormous six-year renovation, restoration, and rejuvenation led by the award-winning New York City-based architectural firm MBB Architects that brings the edifice back to its original glory and transforms it for 21st-century worship.”
Under MBB’s phased renovation plan, the story mentions, “Trinity Church and the adjacent churchyard received accessibility, lighting, acoustic, and infrastructure upgrades as well as new clergy and visitor spaces that reflect the institution’s core humanistic values.”
MBB founding partner Jeffrey Murphy, FAIA, LEED AP is quoted several times in the article. “It’s the biggest project in the church’s history,” he said. “We assembled a highly skilled team and got each consultant to really work beyond their silos. By doing this, we created an integrated design that has a big impact on the overall performance of the building.”
As writer Nancy A. Ruhling points out, “Invisibly integrating new technology into the historic structure and creating accessible spaces were among the most prominent focuses of the project.” She also highlights how “Accessibility issues were resolved in a variety of innovative and noninvasive ways.” More specifically:
“The chancel, the elevated area surrounding the altar, was reconfigured to make the altar and pulpit more accessible. The stepped levels were replaced by a single, accessible level backed by the ornate reredos and stained-glass panels that were conserved off site. The marble altar itself was moved to the center of the chancel, facing the congregation, the back of it detailed to accommodate a wheelchair, and the pulpit was disconnected from a column and reconstructed on a level with the new chancel floor. One of the more innovative designs involves the ADA lift, which is seamlessly tucked behind a pair of movable sedilia chairs on the chancel.”
The story also describes the new, cantilevered glass canopy that shelters liturgical processions across the newly accessible south terrace. This modern, minimalist insertion takes inspiration from the original neo-Gothic structure, without touching the historic fabric. “The cantilevered canopy is a modern expression that respects the historic fabric,” Murphy said. “It has minimal visual impact—it just disappears.”
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