St. Thomas Church

Location: Fifth Avenue and West 53rd Street, Manhattan, New York City

Landmark Status: NYC Individual Landmark, National Register of Historic Places

Original Architect: Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson

Date of Construction: 1911-1914

Date of Restoration: 2007-2009 Phase I, 2015-2016 Phase II

Scope of Work: Stone Survey, Stone Repair, Restoration and Cleaning, Stained Glass Window Restoration, Scrim Design

Awards: Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award (New York Landmarks Conservancy), Stanford White Historic Preservation Award (Institute of Classical Architecture and Art)

 


 

St. Thomas Church was designed in the French Gothic Style by distinguished architects Ferguson, Cram & Goodhue in 1906 and constructed in 1911-14. Situated on Fifth Avenue at West 53rd Street, it makes dramatic use of its corner location with cathedral proportions, asymmetrical towers, rich limestone ornament, and striking stained glass windows. All but two of the stained glass windows were designed by the great English stained glass artist James Humphries Hogan of Powell & Sons (Whitefriars). The windows of St. Thomas Church are considered by many to be Hogan’s finest designs.

 

In 2007, Walter B. Melvin Architects, LLC was retained when restoration of the stained glass began in earnest. WBMA surveyed the exterior and interior conditions of the limestone window tracery, specified the restoration, and oversaw the execution of the work. Repairs included stone dutchmen, patching with restoration mortar, crack repairs, resetting of loose stone, repointing of deteriorated mortar joints, and cleaning. WBMA consulted on issues related to the setting of the stained glass, the water-tightness of the windows, and the removal of the 1980’s protective glazing. WBMA also designed vinyl scrims with images of the stained glass to enclose the interior scaffolding around the window openings. These translucent replacements for the missing windows allowed the church to function normally during construction. Work was completed in 2016.

 

In 2015-16, WBMA consulted on the exterior cleaning of the church, which utilized a low-pressure water and chemical system to restore the color of the original limestone.

 

As a stained glass conservator told the New York Times in 2008, “It is a great privilege to be working on this [church]. It may be labor-intensive, but it is a labor of love.”

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