On Saturday February 28, almost one hundred people brought their ideas—big and small—for Trinity’s ministry space at 68/74 Trinity Place to a charette in St. Paul’s Chapel.
Led by the staff of the architecture firm Pelli Clarke Pelli, the day’s activities included an opening presentation, roundtable discussions, and a question and answer session.
The Rev. Dr. William Lupfer, the rector of Trinity Wall Street, began the day reminding everyone to listen to each other and to be generous. “In God’s economy when you share you get more,” he said.
Congregants, staff, and local residents of the neighborhood attended, including some people who are currently without permanent housing. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer also joined the charette.
"Today is the most open discussion,” said Fred Clarke, who guided the conversation. Clarke is a founding architect of Pelli Clarke Pelli.
Attendees on Saturday focused on brainstorming ideas, ranging from spaces for community meetings and the arts to athletics and outreach. A strong desire was expressed for a building that is flexible, welcoming, and serves a variety of communities, especially those whom Lupfer describes as the most vulnerable. The staff of Pelli Clarke Pelli will help channel the ideas into a physical plan.
“We'd like for every space to be used constantly,” added Clarke. “We want the building to be a constant hub of activity.”
This was the beginning of a six-month process that will include several more charettes and many more chances for community members to express their opinions. The word charette originated in France 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 work you've been doing today is work of stewardship," said Lupfer to conclude the event, "and stewardship is about creating home for people who have no home."