The new convent for the Community of the Holy Spirit in upper Manhattan is designed to inspire quiet contemplation, both individually and collectively, for a monastic community of women in the Episcopal church. The inherent spiritual and philosophical underpinnings of their Order mandate a great respect for the natural world and a careful approach to living lightly within it.
Embracing tradition and modernity in equal measure, the Convent makes a strong statement about living graciously in simple surroundings. The building functions as a place of spiritual reflection, worship, and outreach, as well as a home. Throughout materials that celebrate nature and craft make tangible the Sisters’ commitment to the environment. Sustainable measures include two green roofs, a solar hot water heater, rainwater collection, abundant natural ventilation, a tight building envelope, and carefully sourced finishes. While modest in scale, the Convent makes incredibly efficient use of its site while simultaneously creating a surprising experience of both intimacy and appropriate grandeur in its ceremonial and ecclesiastical spaces.
Faith & Form Magazine/IFRAA Art & Architecture, Religious Architecture Merit, 2012
Brick Industry Association Silver Award for House of Worship, 2011
“A forward retreat: the sisters of New York City’s St. Hilda’s House cultivate an ideal example of sacrificial and sustainable living,” Worship Facilities: 3/2012
“Savvy sisters: a sustainable convent in Harlem,” The Architect’s Newspaper: 9/2011
“A green habitat in upper Manhattan,” Inhabitat: 9/29/2011
“Home is where the carbon isn’t: four new eco-friendly residential projects focus on energy efficiency,” AIA NY Oculus: Fall 2009
“Praise the Lord and raise the green roof,” New York Times: 2/1/2009
ICS Builders Inc. – general contractor; Weidlinger Associates – structural; Laslo Bodak – MEP; Denis Gray Horticulture – green roof consultant; Horton Lees Brogden – lighting design; Acoustic Dimensions – acoustic/av/it
Photos by Jeff Goldberg/ESTO and Ari Burling