Central Presbyterian Church

Location: Park Avenue and East 64th Streets, New York, NY

Landmark Status: Upper East Side Historic District

Original Architect: Henry C. Peyton with Allen & Collens

Date of Construction: 1920-1922

Date of Restoration: 2017-2020

Scope of Work: Stone Cleaning & Restoration, Bell Tower Restoration, Stucco Restoration, Stained Glass Restoration

Awards: Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award (New York Landmarks Conservancy), Excellence in Historic Preservation Award (Preservation League of New York State), Good Steward Award (Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts), Stanford White Historic Preservation Award (Institute of Classical Architecture & Art)

 


 

Central Presbyterian Church was designed by architect Henry C. Pelton in association with Allen & Collens and constructed 1920-22. Originally known as Park Avenue Baptist Church, it was commissioned by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. The neo-Gothic exterior is cleverly arranged to appear as one large church, with seven levels of classrooms and offices above and below the sanctuary. It is constructed of rock-face granite ashlar and limestone trim over a steel frame, stucco and brick at the secondary facades, and leaded-glass windows designed by Henry Wynd Young. A carillon of 53 bells was installed in 1925 but later moved by Rockefeller to Riverside Church. The present congregation moved into the building in 1929.

 

Despite the high-quality of the original materials and craftmanship, natural weathering took its toll on the church. Almost 100 years after its construction, the congregation embarked on a restoration project. Walter B. Melvin Architects, LLC was retained as restoration architect, West New York Restoration as masonry contractor, Femenella & Associates as stained glass contractor, and Fonderie Paccard as the foundry for bell casting, along with other sub-consultants and sub-contractors to round out the team.

 

What began as a triage approach to repairs ultimately became a comprehensive restoration effort. The darkened stone facades were cleaned with water and a soft micro-abrasive. The limestone bell tower was completely disassembled from the steel frame and reconstructed with improved detailing. Deteriorated stones throughout were repaired or replaced in-kind (carved off-site or in-situ). The existing stucco at the secondary facades was removed and the original effect was replicated to mimic the natural granite and limestone at the primary facades. All of the stained-glass windows were removed, completely restored with new lead, and re-installed. The three sets of wood entry doors were restored. Roofing at the set-back and main roofs was replaced. Long quiet, a new carillon with 50 bronze bells cast in France was installed at the restored bell tower.

 

The project began in fall 2017, paused during the pandemic, and was substantially completed in fall 2020.

Janet Shelley Perusini, Assoc. AIA

Janet Shelley Perusini, Assoc. AIA

Since joining the firm in 1997, Associate Janet Shelley Perusini has worked on a full range of project types, from the restoration of civic and institutional buildings to high-end residential properties, both single-family and cooperative/condominium. She has offered continuous consulting services for several long-standing clients, where she has provided problem resolution for hundreds of leak investigations, building conditions surveys, FISP inspections, and exterior envelope repair programs that included masonry reconstruction, roofing replacement, and window restoration. Notable projects include Columbia University Low Library, Parc Vendome Condominium, The Jewish Museum, 1040 Park Avenue and 19 East 70th Street. With more than 25 years of experience in the fields of architecture and historic preservation, she excels in her technical work as much as in building strong relationships with clients and colleagues. Janet received her Bachelor of Science in Architecture from New York Institute of Technology and is an Associate member of the AIA.

Education

New York Institute of Technology, Old Westbury, NY
Bachelor of Science in Architecture

RESTORE Program for Restoration, New York, NY
Certificate

Professional Affiliations

American Institute of Architects

Association for Preservation Technology International

Christopher Girr

Christopher Girr

During his 28-year tenure at WBMA, Associate Christopher Girr has worked on a wide variety of restoration and repair projects, specializing in idiosyncratic buildings and problems. He is responsible for overseeing and executing the assessment, development, and administration of alteration and historic preservation on a variety of projects throughout New York City, working closely with contractors to develop unique solutions to particular problems. His award-wining projects include McKim, Mead and White’s 998 Fifth Avenue; Renwick, Aspinwall and Russell’s 171 MacDougal Street; and 475 Tenth Avenue. Christopher is a graduate of Lehigh and Columbia Universities. He is also a skilled woodworker and furniture maker.

Education

Columbia University, New York, NY
Master of Science in Historic Preservation

Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA
Bachelor of Arts in Architecture
Minor in Architectural History

Dorian Yurchuk, RA, LEED AP BD+C

Martin Lee Griggs

For over two decades Associate Dorian Yurchuk has beheld New York City with the satisfaction of knowing that he and his colleagues are caretakers of this city’s body and soul. He tackles a wide range of project sizes and building components, from subterranean vaults to penthouses and finials. Projects are informed by researching buildings’ histories and period construction practices. In addition to specifying and administering projects, he also provides historic building envelope consulting services to other architectural firms. Dorian is a graduate of The Cooper Union and McGill University. He enjoys making art in various media and is an avid outdoorsman during all seasons.

Education

McGill University, Montreal, Quebec
Master of Architecture

The Cooper Union, New York, NY
Bachelor of Architecture

Professional Registration

Registered Architect in the State of New York

Bruce Barton, RA, AIA

Martin Lee Griggs

With 35 years of experience in the practice of architecture, 25 of which have been at WBMA, Associate Bruce Barton has nurtured a focus on the restoration and repair of exterior masonry structures in New York City. A graduate of Penn State University and Cornell University, he is a Registered Architect in New York State, a member of the AIA, and a member and past Chair of the Bergen County, NJ Historic Preservation Advisory Board. Adept at managing projects from inception to completion, select work includes the award-winning restoration of Central Presbyterian Church, the Marymount School of New York, and the New York Society for Ethical Culture.

Education

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Master of Arts Candidate in Historic Preservation Planning

Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
Bachelor of Science in Architecture

Professional Registration

Registered Architect in New York State

Sergio De Orbeta, RA, AIA, NCARB

Sergio De Orbeta

With almost 20 years of experience in the field, Principal Sergio De Orbeta has been instrumental in the successful restoration, repair, and continued maintenance of numerous historic structures in New York City and beyond. 15 of those years have been at WBMA, where he has taken a detailed and methodical approach to his projects. Some of his noteworthy projects include Casa Italiana, Columbia University; The Osborne; and 100 Hudson Street. Previous award-winning projects include 131 Duane Steet – the Hope Building, 451 Broome Street, Donald Judd Home & Studio, and Marymount School of New York.  He is a Registered Architect in the States of New York and New Jersey. Originally from Puerto Rico, Sergio received his Master of Science in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania and Bachelor of Architecture with a Minor in Architectural History from Carnegie Mellon University.

Education

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Master of Science in Historic Preservation

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
Bachelor of Architecture
Minor in Architectural History

Professional Registration

Registered Architect in the States of New York and New Jersey

Martin Lee Griggs, RA

Martin Lee Griggs

Principal Martin Lee Griggs has worked in the architecture and construction industry for over 30 years, including 27 years at WBMA specializing in the assessment and repair of exterior envelopes. He has overseen several award-winning restoration projects including St. Paul’s Chapel – Columbia University, 451 Broome Street, Liberty Tower and Alwyn Court, as well as restoration projects at Louis Sullivan’s Bayard-Condict Building, the Cosmopolitan Club, several New York City parks and residential cooperatives. Martin is well versed in the myriad building materials that have been used in the northeast and has extensive experience assessing and restoring a variety of masonry and roofing systems. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California and is a Registered Architect in New York State.

Education

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Bachelor of Architecture

Professional Registration

Registered Architect in the State of New York

Robert C. Bates, RA, AIA

Robert C. Bates

With more than 35 years of professional experience at WBMA, Principal Robert C. Bates has overseen restoration projects at many of New York City’s premier institutions, including The Met Cloisters, Donald Judd Home and Studio, Green-Wood Cemetery and Riverside Church, as well as McKim Mead and White’s 998 Fifth Avenue and William Tuthill’s Schinasi Mansion at 351 Riverside Drive. A graduate of Lehigh University, Robert is a Registered Architect in the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as a member of the American Institute of Architects. He has a strong understanding of traditional building materials and has developed many new restoration techniques over the years. Robert has published articles on waterproofing of historic masonry walls, restoration of cast iron, and roofing replacement.

Education

Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA
Bachelor of Art in Architecture

Professional Registration

Registered Architect in the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut