Marble Collegiate Church

New York, NY

Marble Collegiate Church was designed by Samuel Warner and constructed between 1851 and 1854. The exterior walls are load-bearing masonry, with Tuckahoe (NY) marble cladding. A bell tower with a spire that rises 205 feet from the ground is centered on the east façade of the church. The main interior space of the sanctuary is rectangular in plan with a slightly recessed apse at the west end. Deep, cantilevered balconies, currently supported by shoring columns, project into the nave from the north, east and south walls at the interior of the church.

The ceiling of the sanctuary is comprised of ribbed vaults at the side aisles on the north and south sides of the church and barrel vaulting above the central portion of the nave. The plaster at each section of the vaulted ceiling is painted with a cream-colored field surrounded by foliated pattern decorative border. At the location of what would typically be a clerestory between the side aisles and nave are vertical plaster panels with keyhole-shaped openings into the attic. A series of six trusses divide the ceiling into five bays. Decorative plaster with keyhole-shaped openings is also used as infill at the area between the bottom chord of the truss and the barrel vaulted ceiling of the nave.

The original roof framing consists of timber trusses spanning across the width of the sanctuary in a north-south direction. There are several generations of additional strengthening interventions at the roof and ceiling framing visible in the attic, including steel tubes attached by means of angles to the original wood trusses, with tie rods. Both the original wood trusses and the companion steel members are embedded in brick masonry at their ends where they bear on the exterior walls of the church.

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Scope of work

  • Inspected and mapped cracks and other conditions at the plaster ceiling of the sanctuary.
  • Collected plaster samples for petrographic examination, chemical analysis and acid digestion.

Building Owner

  • Marble Collegiate Church

In collaboration with