Site History, Research and Logistics
The courtyard of Grace Episcopalian Church and the secret world under it was the site of an interesting project. A New York City, state and national historic landmark, the church’s new underground gymnasium features a 13,000sf, two-story state-of-the-art gym with a full basketball court and rock climbing wall. Our firm also restored the Church’s façade and landscaped a brand new courtyard.
Prior to construction we systematically removed the historic fountain and ornamental fence both of which were returned to the site for all to enjoy upon completion of the courtyard. Our team researched the Church’s history and environment, noting techniques and methods used during the original construction. Prior to breaking ground, a comprehensive work plan was generated.
A site-specific vibration monitoring program was prepared due to the site’s close proximity to the City’s subway line, a mere 20ft to the west. Monitors were also installed around Church boundaries to gauge any movement of the structure, protecting the portico and pulpit sections that extended over the construction site, all stained glass and priceless artifacts.
Loss prevention and safety were major focuses throughout construction. Both driven and augered piles in combination with temporary sheathing were used to protect the portico and pulpit of the Gothic-style Church during construction. The portico and pulpit, now suspended 40ft in the air, were shored with needle beams and lacing, and the existing foundations were underpinned with mini-piles and tiebacks. The south side of the church was then draped for protection and a 30ft pit that was to become the gym was dug. As part of our safety and logistics plan we devised new egress and access routes for both the school and Church.