Built in 1795, a restoration program was virtually complete in July 1978 when the building and steeple were totally gutted by fire. Almost nothing remained except the stone walls and the stained glass windows in the lower floor.
Except for mechanical and electrical trades and the slate roof, most of the rebuilding was done as a part of a training program for local youth. They built doors and windows and their trim, carved the columns and capitals, installed the millwork and flooring and did the plastering, painting and cabinetwork. Their instructors were a master carpenter and a master plasterer provided by the general contractor. Construction took approximately five years.
St. Mark’s is at least as much a performance space as it is a church. Dance, theater, and poetry readings are a regular occurrence and the interior was designed to accommodate them. The Architects designed not only the rebuilding, but the new ecclesiastical furniture and fittings. Twelve new stained glass windows and the upper level were designed by Harold Edelman to replace those lost in the fire.
In the 1980s, the project won the Preservation Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a Certificate of Merit from the Municipal Art Society, and the Award of Merit for Excellence in Civic Architecture and Urban Design from the City Club of New York Bard Awards.
The Rectory, a New York City Landmark building, was designed by architect Ernest Flagg in 1900. Fire gutted the building in 1988. The Astor Foundation provided a grant for the Historic Structures Report and a matching E.Q.B.A. from New York State provided funds for restoring the exterior. A new copper roof and cornice, new stucco walls, iron grille repair, and window repair and replacement were provided.
After the exterior renovation, the building stood vacant waiting for new life. This need was filled by the development of the Neighborhood Preservation Center, a collaboration of the St. Mark’s Historic Landmark Fund, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, and the Historic District’s Council. Each of these groups hold office space in the Rectory with the Landmark Fund offices being designed by this office. “A more perfect building could not have been provided for these organizations to operate within.”
Interior work included new heating, plumbing and electrical systems, new hardwood floors, and window trim and stairs. Original moldings were recreated where they could not be saved. The original plaster walls were repaired and painted.
Structural: Weidlinger Associates
General Contractor: Preservation Youth Corps with I. Mass and Sons
Photographer: T. Ligamari
Preservation Honor Award | National Trust for Historic Preservation
Award of Merit for Excellence in Civic Architecture and Urban Design | City Club of New York Bard Awards
Certificate of Merit | Municipal Art Society
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