Trinity Church, MBB Architects Propose to Replace the Church’s Historic Stained Glass at 75 Broadway in Financial District

Existing Conditions at Trinity Church - Photo by Rolf E. StaerkExisting Conditions at Trinity Church - Photo by Rolf E. Staerk

The Landmarks Preservation Commission is set to review proposals from Trinity Church and MBB Architects to replace the multi-story stained glass window above the entrance of the historic Episcopal Church at 75 Broadway in the Financial District.

The church was designed by Richard Upjohn around 1839 and completed in 1846. As one of the first Gothic Revival buildings in New York City, it is also home to a treasured cemetery where Alexander Hamilton, among other notable figures, is buried.

The proposed replacement is just one component of a much larger rejuvenation project that began in 2018. According to Trinity Church, installation of the new window will deliver a more modern design that better represents contemporary Episcopalian faith. The existing window is also showing signs of deterioration including severe bowing of the metal came strips and lancets, as well as small holes and cracks in the glass.

Existing exterior stained glass (left) and renderings of proposed designs for Trinity Church - Photo courtesy of Murphy Burnham & Buttrick (MBB) Architects

Existing exterior stained glass (left) and renderings of proposed designs for Trinity Church – Photo courtesy of Murphy Burnham & Buttrick (MBB) Architects

The new window is designed by British stained glass artist Thomas Denny, who was selected through an international competition. Denny’s design is based on the Bible’s “Parable of the Talents,” incorporating jewel tones to reflect the chancel colors and red glass intended to make the window deferential to brownstone.

Close-up detail of a piece of the proposed stained glass design - Photo courtesy of Murphy Burnham & Buttrick (MBB) Architects

Close-up detail of a piece of the proposed stained glass design – Photo courtesy of Murphy Burnham & Buttrick (MBB) Architects

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16 Comments on "Trinity Church, MBB Architects Propose to Replace the Church’s Historic Stained Glass at 75 Broadway in Financial District"

  1. David : Sent From Heaven. | June 1, 2020 at 7:10 am | Reply

    I was watching and had joined in, I spending time to pool-sighted on stained glass: Thank you.

  2. “The new window will better represent the contemporary Episcopalian faith”…what?

  3. if there’s a chance the current window is original, or equivalent to the original, then it’s replacement with an other-than replication should be denied.
    and…
    red as “deferential to brownstone,” preferable to ‘blue being complimentary?’ hmmmm.
    and then…
    this design really isn’t attractive; at all. we won’t even try to untangle its ability to depict “contemporary Episcopalian(isn).”

  4. Is the existing stained glass window from around 1846, or is it newer? Not clear in the article. What about preservation of the existing window if removed? Will it be displayed in the church or a museum/ art gallery?

  5. What idiots. How can they destroy so crucial a piece of a landmark?!

    Trinity is a profiteering racket. It needs to start getting called out for what it is.

  6. marianne parr | June 1, 2020 at 3:29 pm | Reply

    Take the money and feed the poor. ANd give some American studio a job restoring the history that is already there.

  7. desertmodern | June 1, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Reply

    If anything, the original design has a more modern look.

  8. Pamela Wolff | June 2, 2020 at 8:51 am | Reply

    The techniques exist to restore even the most deteriorated stained glass. The existing window is so beautiful, and so appropriate to the site, subtle and dignified. Why in the world would anyone want to see a gaudy, flashy flame-red replacement that makes it look like the interior of the church is engulfed in flame, like the pits of Hell!

  9. JOSEPH KOROM | June 2, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Reply

    The proposal is ghastly. My god, there’s nothing here to compliment the Gothic Revival church! Look at the proposed design figures and their actions, right out of some parking-lot-surrounded church-box in the suburbs. And that garish red…

  10. Joseph Cavalieri | June 3, 2020 at 9:13 am | Reply

    LOVE the new design. great colors, more than just a pattern, and it has figures.

  11. I’ll be happy to keep the original window and restore it….

  12. The new glass design is vibrant and just fantastic. It breathes new life into this iconic church. Frankly, the government should stop interfering with the church’s goal of reaching out in their own way to new generations of parishioners.

  13. Douglas Wildey | June 6, 2020 at 6:39 pm | Reply

    just another good example of the deterioration of society

  14. While I don’t know the specific history of the glazing in Trinity church, as an art historian who has studied stained glass, particularly of the 19th and 20th centuries, in depth, I can say that the type of glazing in that window currently is of the type often used by architects as place holders when the funding was not available to commission a window. Gothic revival architectural projects such as this were extremely costly and took many years to accomplish. As a result it was often necessary to put aspects of the project on hold for more fund-raising. This is not uncommon when it comes to stained glass. A window such as this would surely have been meant to be filled with an elaborate narrative scene–as is more typical of Episcopal churches in the gothic revival style. To me, the current glass signals a pause necessitated by a lack of funds, and would most likely have been meant to be replaced when possible. I say this because as someone who often argues for a purist’s preservation perspective, it’s important to consider, that in the case of placeholder glass, how we move forward may actually be appropriately rooted in intention and history.

  15. I see Samantha’s point, but the proposed design, with its flame-red color, conflicts with the brownstone structure. For me, a new design in gothic-revival style and traditional colors for the period would be better.

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