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Christ Church Bronxville Wins Preservation Award

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – Christ Church Bronxville received an historic preservation award Wednesday for undertaking its recently completed $4.5 million renovation using ecologically and environmentally sound practices.

The Preservation League of New York State honored the efforts by church leaders as “Excellence in Preservation 2012” at its annual awards ceremony at the New York Yacht Club in New York City, commending them for meeting, “21st-century standards while preserving its history and core architectural features.”

The church on Sagamore Road is one of eight buildings statewide to receive the honor and the only one in the Lower Hudson Valley this year, the league said in a statement.

“We are all proud of the recognition of the community and that we have a historic building that is recognized by the state that it was restored in a proper manner, emphasizing conservation and the environment,” said Arthur Taylor, chairman of the Church Facilities Committee that oversaw the project. “It’s good for the community and the church.”

The 86-year-old stone church had over time suffered from a leaky roof and other water -related issues. The problems stemmed from undersize drain spouts as well as leaks and climate control issues resulting from an outdated and aging heating system, Taylor said.

“The awards jury agreed that by reinstating the natural climate control features of traditional building methodologies – in other words, windows that open – the project team has set a fine example for other practitioners,” Jay DiLorenzo, president of the Preservation League, said in a statement. “We are delighted to celebrate the restoration of Christ Church Bronxville and to congratulate the congregation for its stewardship of this magnificent building.”

Consulting with Irvington-based architectural firm Walter Sedovic Architects, which prioritizes preservation and restoration in renovation projects, allowed the church to modernize its facilities with minimal intrusion or changes to the historical nature of the building, Taylor said.

Ground-penetrating radar and thermal imaging were two of the tools used to identify the voids and leaks in the stone structure without being invasive, he said.

“This project has special significance because it deals with a restoration and rediscovery of original and authentic infrastructure,” said Walter Sedovic, who heads his namesake firm.

The firm recognized the use of passive ventilation through clerestory windows for cooling, natural daylight for lighting and efficient use of radiant heat for winter warmth in the church’s design and functionality, Sedovic said.

“All we did was rediscover those things and put them back in working order to demonstrate to the church and the community how beautifully the original work by master builders still function,” he said. “The building exceeds current international standards for energy conservation and efficiency and that’s why it was picked.”

Taylor said compared with the other buildings, which include the iconic TWA Flight Center at New York’s JFK International Airport and the grand Eastman Theatre in Monroe County, the church’s renovation was “insignificant in size and dollars spent.”

“But we fit the bill right alongside them as great examples of excellence in historic preservation, which is the focus of the Preservation League,” he said.

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