The Fordham University Church is a Catholic-Jesuit church located at Fordham University’s Rose Hill Campus in the Bronx, New York City. The bell tower was originally constructed in 1849, and later the church was expanded in 1929. HLZAE was hired to conduct an extensive restoration campaign of the historic bell tower which involved the replacement of decorative architectural elements on the church including: original building field stone (Inwood marble/Fordham gneiss), and cast architectural elements such as pinnacles, finials, and true gargoyles. The project scope included replacement of field stone, replacement of decorative cast-stone elements, 100% repointing of the façade and 100% consolidation of the existing field stone due to ongoing leaks and water infiltration issues.
One of the major challenges on the project was finding the best possible match for the rare stone and material that needed to be replaced on this historic building. Since the stone on the church was over 150 years old, it was crucial to source the closest match which required special ordering resulting in a long lead time; eventually, a granite stone replacement to best match the existing marble was sourced from Connecticut. As for re-casting the decorative architectural features, the HLZAE team visited the stone casting facility during production ensure the quality of the product as part of extensive quality control measures before installing on the building.
During the course of the restoration project, Fordham University Church was invited to host a New Priest Ordination ceremony in Summer 2021, which resulted in an unexpected, expedited timeline adjusting the schedule from a 14-month to just a 9-month project. Due to this unexpected change in the project schedule, the project team was adamant to maintain the highest level of building quality and construction due to the historic prestige of the Church.