On a recent tour of the newly restored St. Patrick’s Cathedral, architect Jeffrey Murphy spoke over an unlikely chorus: hammers nailing pews back into place, persistent drilling on the terrace, and the slow drone of an organ being tuned. With Pope Francis slated to lead evening prayer at St. Patrick’s on September 24, the cathedral is in full preparation mode. It is also wrapping up a multiphase, $177 million conservation project led by New York-based Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects (MBB).
When MBB initiated a master plan in 2006, the landmark Neo-Gothic cathedral in midtown Manhattan was in need of immediate repair. Chunks of stone were falling off the building’s exterior, necessitating a full scaffolding of the structure, inside and out.