Trinity Church has unveiled plans for the new building that it asked Lower Manhattan residents to help design, in a series of “community conversations” that began in February, 2015.
“We began with a public process to understand the hopes and dreams of our community,” explained Trinity’s rector, the Rev. Dr. Bill Lupfer, at the final of six charrettes, held last Saturday at St. Paul’s Chapel. “So what we did was open our doors, and we found alignment between parish desires and neighborhood desires.”
The building design that has resulted from this process is a 26-floor, 310,000-square-foot mixed-use building, in the first ten floors will be allocated to public or community uses. Under this version of the plan, some 98,000 square feet of the new structure will be given over to classrooms, athletic facilities, a restaurant, and conference rooms, as well as art and music studios. The balance of the space will be offices used by the church, with some small suites rented to startup companies.
Rev. Lupfer said that the remaining decisions in the design process will be guided by considerations related to energy efficiency, wellness of the people who use the structure, storm resiliency, and cost. (The overall budget for the project is expected to come to approximately $300 million.)
Fred Clarke, of the firm Pelli Clarke Pelii, called the public engagement, “an enlightening and thorough and transparent process. It’s not usual in architecture to invite upwards of 1,000 voices into the design process. This is quite rare, and should happen more often.”
Mr. Clarke added that the building will refer to the historic structure of Trinity Church, with which it will be connected via a pedestrian bridge that crosses Trinity Place. “The golden luminous quality of Trinity Church is part of what we’re keying into,” he noted. “But the new building will also be different. Trinity Church is an inward-looking piece of architecture, while this building will be outward looking: open and welcoming and transparent. The intention is that you will be able to see from the street what is happening inside at all hours of the day or night. It has a glowing quality, a welcoming, lantern-like quality.”
Rev. Lupfer said of the surrounding neighborhood that, “this is a dynamic neighborhood that’s growing and we expect a lot more residents. We’d like it to be an emotional junction point, a place of gathering — a place where our values, which we see as community values, can be lived and embraced.”
No dates have yet been announced for the start of construction, or the building’s completion.