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231 East 22nd Street, Suite 23 New York NY 10010

Fax: +88 (0) 202 0000 001

St. Thomas Church

Location: Fifth Avenue and West 53rd Street, Manhattan, New York City

Landmark Status: NYC Individual Landmark, National Register of Historic Places

Original Architect: Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson

Date of Construction: 1911-1914

Date of Restoration: 2007-2009 Phase I, 2015-2016 Phase II

Scope of Work: Stone Survey, Stone Repair, Restoration and Cleaning, Stained Glass Window Restoration, Scrim Design

Awards: Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award (New York Landmarks Conservancy), Stanford White Historic Preservation Award (Institute of Classical Architecture and Art)



St. Thomas Church was designed in the French Gothic Style by distinguished architects Ferguson, Cram & Goodhue in 1906 and constructed in 1911-14. Situated on Fifth Avenue at West 53rd Street, it makes dramatic use of its corner location with cathedral proportions, asymmetrical towers, rich limestone ornament, and striking stained glass windows. All but two of the stained glass windows were designed by the great English stained glass artist James Humphries Hogan of Powell & Sons (Whitefriars). The windows of St. Thomas Church are considered by many to be Hogan’s finest designs.


In 2007, Walter B. Melvin Architects, LLC was retained when restoration of the stained glass began in earnest. WBMA surveyed the exterior and interior conditions of the limestone window tracery, specified the restoration, and oversaw the execution of the work. Repairs included stone dutchmen, patching with restoration mortar, crack repairs, resetting of loose stone, repointing of deteriorated mortar joints, and cleaning. WBMA consulted on issues related to the setting of the stained glass, the water-tightness of the windows, and the removal of the 1980’s protective glazing. WBMA also designed vinyl scrims with images of the stained glass to enclose the interior scaffolding around the window openings. These translucent replacements for the missing windows allowed the church to function normally during construction. Work was completed in 2016.


In 2015-16, WBMA consulted on the exterior cleaning of the church, which utilized a low-pressure water and chemical system to restore the color of the original limestone.


As a stained glass conservator told the New York Times in 2008, “It is a great privilege to be working on this [church]. It may be labor-intensive, but it is a labor of love.”

Sergio De Orbeta


Sergio De Orbeta

With over 19 years of experience in the field, Sergio has been instrumental in the successful restoration, repair, and continued maintenance of numerous historic structures in New York City and beyond.  13 of those years have been at WBMA, where he has taken a detailed and methodical approach to his projects. Some of his noteworthy ongoing projects include Casa Italiana, Columbia University; The Osborne; 100 Hudson Street; 525 Park Avenue; 130 East End Avenue; and 300 West 108th Street.  Previous award-winning projects include 131 Duane Steet – the Hope Building, 451 Broome Street, Donald Judd Home & Studio, and Marymount School of New York.  He is a Registered Architect in the States of New York and New Jersey. Originally from Puerto Rico, Sergio received his Master of Science in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania and Bachelor of Architecture with a Minor in Architectural History from Carnegie Mellon University.



University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Master of Science in Historic Preservation

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
Bachelor of Architecture
Minor in Architectural History

Professional Registration

Registered Architect in the States of New York and New Jersey

Martin Lee Griggs, RA

Martin Lee Griggs

Martin has worked in the architecture and construction industry for over 30 years, including 26 years at WBMA specializing in the assessment and repair of exterior envelopes. He has overseen several award-winning restoration projects including St. Paul’s Chapel – Columbia University, 451 Broome Street, Liberty Tower and Alwyn Court, as well as restoration projects at Louis Sullivan’s Bayard-Condict Building, the Cosmopolitan Club, several City parks and residential cooperatives. Martin is well versed in the myriad building materials that have been used in the northeast and has extensive experience assessing and restoring a variety of masonry and roofing systems. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California and is a Registered Architect in New York State.

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Bachelor of Architecture

Professional Registration
Registered Architect in the State of New York

Robert C. Bates


Robert C. Bates

With 35 years of professional experience at WBMA, Robert has overseen restoration projects at many of New York City’s premier institutions, including The Met Cloisters, Donald Judd Home and Studio, Green-Wood Cemetery and Riverside Church, as well as McKim Mead and White’s 998 Fifth Avenue and William Tuthill’s Schinasi Mansion at 351 Riverside Drive. A graduate of Lehigh University, Robert is a Registered Architect in the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as a member of the American Institute of Architects. He has a strong understanding of traditional building materials and has developed many new restoration techniques over the years. Robert has published articles on waterproofing of historic masonry walls, restoration of cast iron, and roofing replacement.



Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA
Bachelor of Art in Architecture

Professional Registration

Registered Architect in the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut