The Hovnanians were among 30,000 New Jerseyans of Armenian descent who fled their homeland in 1959 after a revolt led by Abdul Carim Kassem, whose government placed the road-building concern of Hovnanian’s father under national rule.
When Hovnanian arrived in New Jersey, he cobbled together family funds to restart his business with a $20,000 loan. He eventually started a home construction company with his three brothers, committed to building affordable townhouses and condominiums for first-time buyers. Under the leadership of Kevork and his son, Ara, Hovnanian Enterprises has expanded its portfolio to include single-family homes ranging from $70,000 to nearly $1 million. The company has extended its original Northeast market to include California, Washington D.C., North and South Carolina, Texas and Florida. During the past 40 years, Hovnanian Enterprises has helped thousands of families enjoy new homes and currently employs 3,500 people.
Hovnanian, one of the largest condominium builders in the country, built the church for a congregation of about 200.
The church features a folded pyramid-shaped dome atop a 12-sided nave — one side for each apostle of the Christian faith. Cutting the proper angles on a project like this is challenging enough — the installation was just as difficult.
A stained-glass mural between the nave entrance and lobby depicts St. Stephen (Stephanos), the first Christian martyr of the New Testament.
Several years ago, for reasons, still unknown, contractors tried to power-wash the 12-sided standing seam metal roof stop the church, destroying the coating with sandblasting and leaving the roof with a mottled gold appearance. Members of the congregation sought to replace the damaged roof and chose an Englert Series 1300 .040-inch aluminum standing seam panel. Aluminum was chosen for corrosion resistance because of the structure’s location — just 600 feet from the Atlantic Ocean in New Jersey. The congregation wanted to take advantage of the Kynar 500 coating and the anodizing qualities of the aluminum that would provide that corrosion resistance. It also chose a custom gold metallic color for the 4,200 square foot roof to replace the old gold roof that served as a landmark along Ocean Avenue in the heart of the Jersey Shore.
ADPI of Avenel, N.J., served as fabricator on the project. Excell Metal Roofing of Whiting, N.J., installed the roof that was not without its challenges. The folded pyramid shaped dome had a dozen steep-pitched valleys, completely unwalkable. That required Excell to build a series of 12 “chicken ladders” to gain footholds to aid in the installation of the standing seam from the top of the dome to where it meets the sandstone block walls of the building. The project for Excell was to install standing seam roofing on 12 small roofs with a very steep pitch. The company used a trailer-mounted boom lift to remove the old standing seam material and hoist the new standing seam panels from the ground and to reach the steepest, uppermost segments of the 12-sided roof.
“Your legs can only put up with so much wear and tear on the chicken ladders tucked into the valleys,” says Brian Swarthout, co-partner of Excell. Each roof section had 15 panels ranging in length from 12 feet to less than a foot.
“We’d have to have a single panel of standing seam hoisted to us in the cherry picker, climb to the top of the roof, install the piece and then work back down the chicken ladder to retrieve the next panel,” says Kevin Nann, Excell’s other co-partner.
The work was tedious, but the result was a beautifully cut and completed standing seam gold roof that is a shore landmark, glowing in the sunlight playing off the ocean.
Kevin Corcoran, vice president of business development at Englert, is a 29-year veteran of the metal roofing industry and has been responsible for introducing scores of metal roofing products and programs to builders and architects during his career.