Christ Church Philadelphia Work Highlighted
Keast & Hood’s ongoing work at Christ Church Philadelphia was recently highlighted in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s, Preservation Magazine, Winter 2020 issue. Read more about the work at Christ Church Philadelphia and the recent steeple restoration project, Restoring America’s Steeple here: Restoring Philadelphia’s Historic Christ Church
The firm’s ongoing work at Christ Church was also highlighted in a case study as part of a workshop with Partners for Sacred Places. The workshop at Christ Church Neighborhood House was as an introduction to building stewardship for congregations with aging structures, “Caring for Your Sacred Place: An Introduction to Building Stewardship.” Keast & Hood’s Director of Historic Preservation, Brian Wentz, CDT, PE presented with Voith & Mactavish Architects.
Keast & Hood has been involved with the preservation of Historic Christ Church since the 1960’s, the main church roof was repaired and strengthened in 1964 and similarly the gallery roofs in 1968. The galleries were strengthened for the 1976 Bi-Centennial and the tower/steeple reinforced in 1983. Keast & Hood was commissioned in 2001 to assemble a series of documents that could be used for fund-raising. Presented in three volumes, the documents reported on the stewardship the Church has exercised; a partial condition assessment of the steeple with recommendations for repairs; and an approach to long-term and cyclic maintenance of the building, including recommendations for a more thorough structural condition assessment of the wood framing (with particular attention on the steeple due to the potential for decay damage resulting from leaks).
In 2017 the steeple was fully evaluated as the first of a two phase project for its repairs and strengthening. The firm also supported the replacement of the 1935 pipe organ. The replacement of the organ included acoustic treatments to the sanctuary and installation of a solid wall at the current arched opening into the tower, along with the design and insertion of a new chair rail at the balcony that compliments the existing organ case. The challenge of supporting the new organ required the design for supplemental steel framing to fit within the existing depth of the historic balcony floor.
The insertion of the new organ and addition of a chair rail constituted a major undertaking for the high profile historic and religious site, but due to close coordination between the project team, Christ Church was able to remain open throughout the project and continued to operate uninterrupted with a service every weekend.