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Construction & Design

Cathedral upgrades are glass acts

Incorporating innovative, minimalist glass elements alongside exacting preservation work, the firm MBB (Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects) has helped bring new functionality to two historic cathedrals in New York City.

At St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the company completed an all-glass interior facade. The 880 s/f, 48 ft. tall glass wall, with glass panels weighing up to 2.75 tons each, are supported by a single, 8-ply glass beam and integrated into the 1888 cathedral structure to enclose its Lady Chapel.

The result improves acoustics and offers unfettered views to stained glass dating to 1912.

In addition, MBB designed new sliding glass doors for St. Patrick’s Cathedral’s primary Fifth Avenue facade, allowing the church to keep its massive bronze portals open without loss of conditioned air. Also in Manhattan, MBB is architect for a historic rejuvenation of Trinity Church, expanding its capacity and enhancing its accessibility.

The design includes a subtle and deferential canopy of glass and steel, which is being added along the south side of Trinity Church to provide protection from weather during its signature processionals.
For St. Patrick’s Cathedral, MBB worked with manufacturer seele Inc. and engineers Silman and Eckersley O’Callaghan Engineers to produce the galss wall.

Instrumental to achieving functional objectives, the melding of modern glass expression and preservation approaches helps preserve public access to historic spaces while enhancing their performance.

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