The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine (Interior & Exterior)

New York, NY

Project overview

Vertical Access has made a number of mobilizations to The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine with project scopes ranging from the installation of fiber optic crack gauges to masonry stabilization and existing conditions documentation. 

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Building description

The Cathedral was originally designed by George Lewis Heins and Christopher Grant LaFarge in 1888. Construction of the apse began in 1892 and the large central dome constructed by The Guastavino Company was completed in 1909, the largest dome ever constructed by the firm. After Heins died, Ralph Adams Cram was hired in 1911 to replace LaFarge as the architect of the Cathedral. granite, the newer portion of the south tower is faced in limestone. 

Scope of work

  • In 2004, VA worked with engineers from Urbitran OSMOS and Silman to install and calibrate the OSMOS fiber optic crack gauges across cracks in the buttress arches above the aisles. The underside of the slab and concrete beams in the south tower were also measured, inspected and photographed. 
  • VA returned in 2013 to identify and stabilize potential public safety concerns while documenting existing conditions and providing video documentation of select areas to allow for the planning of permanent repairs. 
  • In 2017, VA utilized a Rigid SeeSnake® system to investigate two below grade drainage pipes for any obstructions or faulty connections. 
  • We returned in 2019 to assist with the safety inspection of the ceiling at the interior by hammer-sounding and probing with hand tools as necessary to determine the condition of the masonry above the ambulatory, high altar, and choir. 
  •  In 2020, VA returned to assist with an exterior inspection of the Cathedral’s north tower as part of a FISP inspection.

Building owner

Episcopal Diocese of New York

In collaboration with