St. James' Church |
The neo-gothic church, designed by R.H. Robertson, was constructed in 1884. It has gone through multiple modifications, including relocating the entrance off of 71st Street to Madison Avenue. Upper levels of the bell tower, designed by R.A. Cram, were in very poor condition by 1926 and were replaced by the metal basket weave ornamental top still in place today. The parish house was added in 1937 by G. Atterbury.
Levien was retained in 1998 for what was to be a 30-month, large scale project. Pre-construction/design was underway upon our retainer, and the team was preparing to sign contracts to begin construction. We felt this was premature and advised that the drawings needed to be further developed and more physical investigation was needed to explore hidden conditions. Additional exploration of the building revealed that the structure itself was sinking and the columns of the nave need to be underpinned. Once construction began in earnest things moved as expected until 9/11. Because trucks were not permitted to enter New York City, materials became unavailable and the schedule was delayed for about four months. The church remained partially operational during construction.
Other key elements included structural reinforcement of the parish house, façade restoration, mechanical, electrical and plumbing upgrades, new food service for the homeless, new elevators, an enclosed atrium between the parish house and church, and expansion of the school. A columbarium was installed in the base of the bell tower.