Not even occasionally torrential rain in Lower Manhattan dampened the enthusiasm for the second public meeting to offer suggestions for Trinity Wall Street's new parish building.
More than 70 people attended the charette at St. Paul's Chapel Saturday March 14 to discuss the range of activities that might be included in the future ministry space at 68/74 Trinity Place, and how a new building will be constructed to accommodate those activities.The word charette is French and describes a collaborative effort by various stakeholders to reach a common vision. The charette is an especially common tool in reaching consensus on an architectural project.
The Rev. Dr. William Lupfer, Trinity's rector, opened the meeting by describing the series of charettes as "discernment where we listen for God's voice” and urged participants to "open our hearts as we listen."
Architect Fred Clarke of Pelli Clarke Pelli brought a team of his colleagues to moderate five discussion circles dealing with: gathering space, athletics, community outreach , the arts, and education. Suggestions ranged from the traditional church spaces, such as a library and a place of reflection, to more innovative recommendations such as a sand dome or a rock-climbing wall. Clarke acknowledged that he was cautious about this second charette because the initial community meeting “was so successful with such energy that we just might not be able to match it.”
Instead, Clarke said, “we exceeded it.”
The charettes are open to anybody, not just Trinity congregation members, including community partners, downtown neighbors, and those, in the words of the Trinity rector, "hungry, homeless, put aside for some reason or another and ignored."
Catherine McVay Hughes, chairperson of Community Board 1
When introduced by Dr. Lupfer, Catherine McVay Hughes, chairperson of Community Board 1, reminded the audience that Trinity has been a neighbor since the community began more than 300 years ago, she thanked the church for making the building process public, and urged Trinity to help Lower Manhattan remain a leader in the construction and operation of “green” buildings.
Lupfer began the charette by reviewing the four options Trinity originally considered for its 90-year-old property at 68/74 Trinity Place: renovation, ministry space with condominiums above, ministry space with rental apartments, or simply constructing a parish building. Revamping and condominiums have been ruled out; the final decision about which of the other two options to choose will be made within a few months.
The four-and-a-half hour process included the opportunity for those present to make their suggestions to the entire audience. In closing, Dr. Lupfer thanked participants, remarking “I am amazed at your ability to discern.”
Trinity plans its next charette in May. You can contribute your suggestions at any time here or via Twitter at #trinitytalk.