The Coming Remodeling of Christ Cathedral

Now that a new name has been chosen and a timeline set, it will be fascinating to watch Christ Cathedral (formerly Chrystal Cathedral) being reconfigured to support the celebration of the sacraments. I like the edifice and I appreciate the new name. I truly hope that Bishop Brown does not ruin the building by putting too heavy of his own stamp on the remodeling.

It needs new floor covering, kneelers and possibly pews (depending on the impact to seating capacity.) The sanctuary needs to be re-configured to accept an altar and an ambo. It certainly would be nice if they located a monumentally-sized tabernacle front and center (where the choir currently sits) but I rather doubt that will happen.

The structure has a full basement so I suspect the sacristy will go somewhere there? This is really going to be an exciting process to watch. I rather doubt the giant pipe organ will be moved but who knows? If they shift the sanctuary to one end or the other, the game’s over. The character of the structure would be violated with such a move. We’ll just have to watch and pray.

In fact one of the only possibilities I’ve heard as a rumor from a designer is switching the axis to support long processions and a traditional long nave set up.

I read that same piece. It was pathetic. The person who wrote it claimed to be an architect but I have real questions about that. While it’s a physical possibility it would be downright ignorant to do something like that. One of Christ Cathedral’s best features is that people can actually SEE the sanctuary. It’s a big place that is designed to feel fairly small. That’s important. Moving the sanctuary so some seats would be up to 400’ away with absolutely no gain would be just plain ignorant. What you term “a traditional long nave set up” was used primarily because of cost, design limitations and building material limitations in years past. Cost is still a factor but things have improved greatly in the other areas, thanks be to God.

The building is 415’ wide and 207’ deep. There is plenty of room for a proper procession as configured.

You will last longer here if you ratchet it back three or four notches. Just a word to the wise.

I’m not sure who you are to advise others, particularly when you could have done it via a PM.

That said, the piece in question was inflammatory – and it was meant to be.


It’s true though. :slight_smile:

Don’t forget culture and social relevance…

I suggest calling in Duncan Stroik. His designs are nice.

I think it is a possibility that he would refuse this job, honestly.

A very arrogant, self-serving piece.

The choice of an architect should be fairly simple. The Diocese of Orange should consider John Burgee if he is available. Burgee and the better known Philip Johnson were partners in of the architectural firm that originally designed Christ Cathedral. I believe Burgee still practices.

My guess is that it might well be Frank Gehry…

Thanks be to God. Given his envious and arrogant comments about Christ Cathedral I hope he goes no where near it.

I think when the $$$, brain power and brawn were sufficient (ex. Hagia Sophia, St. Peter’s), churches became a lot less like individual lanes in a bowling alley.

Well, I was thinking that the lot provides a nice place to build a new church.

Thanks for the link to the excellent article. Stroik is spot on. :thumbsup:

Also, is there a person who disagrees with you who isn’t arrogant, stupid, ignorant, or misinformed? Just, ya know, wondering…

Stroik is what’s known in the profession as a “cookbook” or “catalog” architect. He’s not in the same league as Philip Johnson, nor will he ever be and he knows it, hence the article.

Stroik’s written envy would really neither be here nor there except that he’s in essence trying to drum-up business for his paint-by-the-numbers designs and I find that a little bit uncomfortable.

I like to consider how Pope Benedict XVI had to personally approve the purchase of Christ Cathedral. Being a man well versed in the arts and given the prominent location of the new cathedral I’m sure he took a personal interest. This was certainly not something he delegated to underlings.

I suspect he already knew of the Christ Cathedral (Pope John Paul II had blessed an architectural model of it decades earlier) and Philip Johnson long before the illustrated dossier arrived from California. Knowing this makes the judgmental words from Stroik, Alderman and others all the more entertaining.

I truly hope they don’t foul-up the remodel. If they do it right I have no question that it will one day be granted minor basilica status by the Pontiff.

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