Two Los Angeles-based architectural firms, including one of the original designers, will renovate the former Crystal Cathedral mega-church in Garden Grove that the Diocese of Orange acquired in bankruptcy court and renamed Christ Cathedral, it was announced Wednesday.
Passersby won't notice much change to the iconic church's facade, but Roman Catholic parishioners will experience changes more appropriate to their faith, according to Diocese of Orange Bishop Kevin Vann.
The selection of Johnson Fain and Rios Clementi Hale Studios to lead the renovation of Christ Cathedral was announced by Vann at the Diocese's eighth annual prayer breakfast.
Scott Johnson of Johnson Fain worked with the building's original designer, Philip Johnson. Rios Clementi Hale Studios, which recently designed Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles, was chosen for its ability to reflect the diversity of Los Angeles in that project.
"A cathedral, like any church, synagogue or mosque, says to those who come to it, 'Here we look to heaven for the grace to do God's loving will on earth,"' Vann said. "The Crystal Cathedral is an established international landmark and is much lauded for its architectural inspiration and iconic stature.
"At its dedication the Architectural Record described the building as, 'Both an inspiring and an inspired structure.' Johnson Fain and Rios Clementi Hale Studios have the experience and ability to respect the building's original design inspiration while creating a fitting and functional spiritual home for Orange County's 1.3 million Catholics," Vann said. "These two firms see this important work as more than a renovation project, but as a reflection of God and his people on earth."
The designers will draw up plans for a central altar, crucifix and corpus, baptismal font, tabernacle, blessed sacrament chapel, ambo and narthex, among other features of a Catholic church.
"In the cathedral, the landmark architecture of the building shell will be cleaned and restored," Johnson said. "Interior improvements on the main floor and mezzanines will upgrade access, sightlines, finishes and environmental comfort.
"Interior architecture will be designed to host an array of mass, celebrations, sacraments, services and non-liturgical events. The historic and internationally renowned organ which has been in place since the cathedral opened will be meticulously restored and reinstalled," he said. "Acoustics and lighting will be improved and the new cathedral will be open in renewed form to all."
Vann hopes Christ Cathedral will be welcoming to non-Catholics, as well.
"Orange County is a bustling place, with lots of noise and traffic and endless activity, a place where we can often feel isolated," the bishop said. "The day when the cathedral in Garden Grove becomes our center of gravity, we as Catholics will make believers and non-believers our welcome guests. We and they will find it a place of refuge. Our cathedral will be a place for involvement in the sacraments, a place to hear the word of God proclaimed and a place for personal prayer and devotion. It will be a holy place where God dwells among us."
The cathedral, which is 12 stories tall and 78,397 square feet, is constructed entirely of glass and steel, with more than 10,000 panes of mirrored glass.
–City News Service.