A Higher Calling: New Technology & Conserving St. Patrick’s Cathedral, NYC

Designed by James Renwick and completed in 1879, St. Patrick’s Cathedral embodies Catholicism in the United States. But by 2005, the building fabric had reached a state of disrepair, including stone, plaster, and stained glass windows failures: the entire physical plant was outmoded and well beyond its useful life.  In responding to the conditions found at the Cathedral, Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects, along with their primary collaborators, restoration consultants, and Building Conservation Associates, employed a full range of best practice and conservation measures.

This workshop will present the exterior and interior fabric conservation, describe the approach to stained glass restoration, the new water mist fire suppression system and the nine well geothermal system that reduces energy consumption at the Cathedral by 40%. It will explore methods that solved major technical challenges, including schedule, budget, and quality control; present research leading to innovative conservation strategies; and describe cutting-edge solutions for energy efficiency and fire suppression. The use of cutting-edge mobile technology incorporating speedier and more precise document management by processing hundreds of drawings, field changes, and over 30,000 conditions and treatments during construction, with information distributed in real time to the project team, will be presented within the workshop.