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MBB Wins AIANY Design Honor Award for Trinity Church Wall Street

Gideon Fink Shapiro
Jun 4, '24 11:52 AM EST
Trinity Church Wall Street, MBB Architects. Photo Colin Winterbottom
Trinity Church Wall Street, MBB Architects. Photo Colin Winterbottom

The 2024 AIA New York Design Awards recognized MBB Architects' 6-year restoration and renovation at Trinity Church Wall Street with an Honor Award, the highest award category.

As reported in the Spring 2024 issue of Oculus Magazine, the 2024 AIANY Design Awards jury said of our team’s work at Trinity Church Wall Street:

We are awarding this project for its masterful work restoring an existing building, and for adding a contemporary feel while still respecting the original idea.”

The panel of esteemed jurors for the 2024 Design Awards comprised Sofía Aspe of Sofía Aspe Interiorismo, David Darling, FAIA, of Aidlin Darling Design, Frank Harmon, FAIA, of Frank Harmon Architect, Brian Johnsen, AIA, of Johnsen Schmaling Architects, Mark Lee of Johnston Marklee, Fuensanta Nieto of Nieto Sobejano Architectos, and Andrew Thompson, AIA, NOMAC, LEED AP BD+C.

Summarizing the extent of MBB’s restoration and renovation work at Trinity, the article continued:

“Surrounded by skyscrapers, Trinity Church Wall Street, a national and local treasure, is visited by thousands of tourists and congregants each year. Designed by Richard Upjohn in 1846, the Gothic Revival church is a designated New York City landmark. After years of alterations and deferred maintenance, the church embarked on a phased, comprehensive master plan devised by MBB Architects to preserve and extend the life of the four-story, 30,433-square-foot structure for future generations. A team of design consultants, including Building Conservation Associates, was assembled with the mission of reconciling new technology, sustainability precepts, accessibility enhancements, and program needs, all while maintaining the steadfast commitment to guard the church’s historic integrity.

“The project, which took six years to complete, resolved the many complex renovation and restoration issues the team faced in both the building and adjacent churchyard. Reflecting the church’s humanistic values, the improvements include archaeological excavation, stained-glass restoration, infrastructure upgrades, insulation of the building envelope, new clergy and visitor spaces, three new organs, exterior and interior lighting, and the insertion of an ADA-compliant lift behind modified sedilia chairs near the altar.

“Concealed audiovisual equipment and miles of rerouted cabling support the broadcast of services and concerts. As part of a network of new landscaped paths and bluestone terraces, a cantilevered glass canopy with slender, flying-buttress-like steel supports has been added to the grounds. The canopy structure complements the brown stone of the building, as liturgical processions make their way from the renovated sacristy to an accessible entrance with new oak doors, inspired by the originals.”

The restored 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 to support the church’s renowned musical programs.

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 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.

Collaborative team excellence:

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