Major St. Sava Reconstruction to be Completed by Spring 2020

January 8, 2020

We start off the new year with some great news: St. Sava has posted a construction advisory sign stating that the completion of the reconstruction is slated for Spring 2020.

After the devastating fire on Easter Eve 2016, there was some question as to whether the structure could be saved and given the expense whether it would be restored.  A landmark building, the beautiful St. Sava was designed by noted architect Richard Upjohn in English Gothic Revival style, and originally served as an uptown chapel of Trinity Church on Wall Street.  It was sold by the Episcopal Church to the Armenian Orthodox Community in 1942 and became the Mother church of the Serbian Orthodox faith in America, as well as a social center for emigres.  You can read more about the fire and the history of the church here here.

Photo 1: / Photo 2: © David Lubarsky – All rights Reserved

The reconstruction has been delicate, much like that at Notre Dame with the structural integrity of the building often in question.  A full review of the work can be found here. Briefly, it started with the hazardous task of clearing out all of the post-fire debris at ground-level—including scattered stone and charred-timber wreckage. Then, the loose and otherwise compromised structural and non-structural materials overhead were methodically removed in order to render the building site as safe as possible, before the actual reconstruction work could begin.

Since then, construction has progressively continued with the installation of steel beams and the placing of aluminum structs across the entire roof.  With this base in place, vertically placed sheets of corrugated metal and sheeting were installed and covered with marine board and an asphalt membrane, all of which is part of the permanent roof.

Photo: © David Lubarsky – All rights Reserved

A new floor has been laid.  The base consists of massive 27” deep steel I-beams to which are riveted sheets of 7” deep corrugated galvanized steel.  This will be covered with a cement base, surmounted by floor heating elements, and a final finishing layer.

It is heartening to see the interior lit at night, albeit with construction lamps and to see the temporary plexiglass windows installed throughout the church.   Soon the doorways will be framed and temporary, substantial metal doors will be installed.  You can read more about the construction challenge at

Donations to help restore this beautiful landmark neighbor, can be made here:

Saluting our Tenants

St. James Tenant Zivkovic Connolly Architects PC is the architect for the St. Sava Project.
Thanks to St. James Tenant David Lubarsky for sharing some of his documentary photos of St. Sava.