Progress At Christ Church United Methodist

Iconic Cram & Ferguson Church Receives Interior Renovation and Restoration
PRESRV May 2020 Newsletter

The Christ Church United Methodist project is a collaboration of two prime contractors. The project is divided into two phases: restoration and renovation. EverGreene Architectural Arts is leading the Church’s restoration while PRESERV is managing the renovation.

This is the first interior project to be performed since the church began holding services in 1933. The architects, Cram and Ferguson, are well known for their Gothic structures throughout the United States, including the West Point campus of the United States Military Academy and The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, located in New York City. The Church, working with Sal Barbieri of Metropolitan Planning and Management, LLC retained Thomas A Fenniman, Architect, to lead both interior and exterior projects. The exterior work was completed last year. Tillotson Design Associates was engaged to provide lighting design. PRESERV is serving as the lead contractor, providing coordination, direction and scheduling to the project.

Rafael Guastavino, the creator of the Guastavino Tile Arch System, designed the ceilings within the Church’s Sanctuary and Chapel. Patented in 1885, the system is a self-supporting arch vault using interlocking terracotta tiles. In this case, the terracotta arch is covered by Akoustolith sound absorbing tiles, another Guastavino creation. The restoration process includes the cleaning and repair of stone and mosaic wall surfaces, mosaic ceiling surfaces, as well as the cleaning and restoration of Akoustolith ceiling and wall tiles. EverGreene’s work required scaffolding to clean the ceiling surfaces. This incorporates 3,600 square feet of platform (dance floor) for the ceiling work.

PRESERV’s contract for the renovation of the Sanctuary includes construction of a new design of the Chancel, Apse, Nave and associated adjacent areas. The new Chancel and Nave flooring will be a combination of wood flooring, three different stone slabs, one of which is to be Tennessee Pink Marble to match the existing slab. We will also be installing at the elevated Organ Pipe Chambers bronze-casted balustrades to match the existing balustrades. The scope of work includes a new electrical service, new electrical room, installation of a new sound system and the restoration, cleaning, of existing lighting fixtures and manufacturing of lighting fixtures to match the gothic style fixtures. PRESERV has contracted Rambusch Lighting Co. for the lighting work.

As a part of the lighting upgrade a new lighting control dimming system is being developed and installed. Working alongside PRESERV, Rambusch, and our electrician DK Electrical, we have hired a Theatrical System Integrator, to help meet the lighting control system parameters and lighting level specifications as set forth within the specifications developed by Tillotson Design Associates. This work includes selecting the lighting control system, its components, developing the lighting loads, setting of scenes and switching. This has been and will continue to be the most challenging part of the project.

The project has been halted under Governor Cuomo’s “New York State on PAUSE.” In the interim we have been working on further development of the lighting system and fixture design. We are also developing a COVID-19 response plan detailing the procedures under which personnel will be allowed to return to the site and work safely once the “PAUSE” is rescinded. We will be taking such actions as daily temperature monitoring of our workers, disinfecting of tools and surfaces, utilizing hand washing and sterilizing stations, and setting boundaries for distancing of workers. Once the “PAUSE” is rescinded and our health safety equipment and procedures are in place, EverGreene will be removing the scaffolding from the Sanctuary and relocating to the Chapel area to continue with the restoration work. PRESERV will then begin the demolition of the Chancel and Nave areas, which will be performed while following social distancing guidelines. While the project may be temporarily halted, PRESERV is looking forward to returning to the Church to begin the renovation phase of this project and bring new life to this celebrated structure.