The Architect was approached by the Building Commission of the Archdiocese of New York to spearhead a total architectural, structural and mechanical renovation of Saint Mary’s Church in Wappingers Falls, New York. Recommendations came from previous successfully finished projects in other parishes in New York.
The general concept was to renovate the space, totally overhaul the mechanical and electrical systems, reinforce floor structures and install new flooring and new pews, restore the choir loft to its original configuration by rebuilding the main and two side altars with stepped platforms and rehabilitating the organ. All exterior stained-glass windows were rehabilitated off site. To everyone's surprise a large stained-glass window/rosette that had been hidden for many years behind stucco walls was discovered while the choir loft reconstruction was in progress.
The successful planning by Architect and Building Commission, time for ascertaining all permits and the construction phases lasted 20 months. The newly renovated church was officially consecrated in 2001.
“St. Mary’s Church, an English Gothic-style church built in 1877, underwent a major renovation by the Architect, Rene Robert Mueller, over seven months in 2001. The renovation was historically sensitive and he restored the church to its original configuration, including exposing a hidden rose window and designing a new choir loft. The restoration was sparked by our desire to air condition the church in an unobtrusive manner. Rene completely concealed the ductwork for the air conditioning system in double floors and walls. The only instruction given to Rene was not to change the image of St. Mary’s. This was very successfully executed: when our regular parishioners returned to the renovated church, they exclaimed: ‘It is still St. Mary’s, only better!’ Rene also designed a new Botticini marble and ceramic tile floor, new pews sympathetic in style to the Gothic stained-glass windows, and the sanctuary altar and statue pedestals (both in Botticini marble).”
MSGR. Francis P. Bellew
St. Mary’s Church RC
Wappingers Falls, NY