City Tech Students
Envision St. Nicholas
|St. Nicholas Church
Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of
all travelers, but the Reverend John Romas did not have to
travel far for help after his church, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox
Church, was decimated on September 11.
Concerned about how to begin planning the
new St. Nicholaslocated at 155 Cedar Street, only 250
feet from where the south tower of the World Trade Center formerly
stoodRomas looked to one of his longtime congregants,
John Bourotoglou, and to the CUNY campus just across the Brooklyn
bridge. Bourotoglou is an Architectural Technology adjunct professor
at New York City Technical College, and Romas inquired whether
his students would be interested in exploring the architectural
options for rebuilding the church, which was constructed in
1832 (it became a Greek Orthodox church in 1916). Thus, City
Tech's role in planning the future of Lower Manhattan assumed
a religious dimension.
|William Perez's model for St. Nicholas
Students in a model-making class constructed
a large-scale model of the area surrounding the World Trade
Center site, including removable scale models of the twin
towers and other buildings that were destroyed. About 30 students
from an architectural design course then superimposed their
models for a new St. Nicholas, all of course conforming with
current municipal building codes.
In December, the students presented their work to a jury of
architects who critiqued each of the designs. Among the jury
members were Barbara Smith Mishara, the president of the Brooklyn
Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and architects
who are members of the St. Nicholas congregation. Reverend
Romas, who has ministered to the congregation for the past
17 years and who served as cantor for nearly as long before
that, was on hand to review the submissions.
The design that seemed to receive the
most unanimous praise was by second year student William Perez,
21. "He represented the traditional interior special requirements
with a very successful contemporary exterior architectural
treatment that related very well to the site," said Tim Maldonado,
chair of the City Tech Achitectural Technology Department.
Perez displayed two models a large-scale cut-away section
clearly illustrating the nave, choir and the other interior
spaces, and an exterior model showing how the church would
appear during the day and how lighting would affect its appearance
at night. His presentation also included computer-generated
drawings showing plans, sections and elevations.
|William Perez, center, with City Tech's
Architectural Technology Chair Tim Maldonado and St. Nicholas's
Rev. John Romas. Photos: Dominic Sarica.
All the students were required to do extensive research on
Greek Orthodox churches, including visiting several in the
New York area. They also performed Internet research to locate
classic examples as well as contemporary interpretations of
Greek Orthodox edifices. A final research paper was required
that delineated spatial relationships among the different
areas of the church and other ecclesiastic requirements.
In order to rebuild the church in its previous location, the
property owner of the adjacent site would have to sell some
land to the church to get a green light. The archdiocese will
use the City Tech students' work in its negotiations with
the land owner. The Foundation for Hellenic Culture in New
York (at 7 West 57 Street) and the Hellenic Cultural Center
in Chicago will also display the models.