The Cathedral Center of Christ the Light
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP – San Francisco
Location & Year
Oakland, CA, 2008
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The heart of a Diocese is its Cathedral. The Cathedral of Christ the Light is located on 2.5 acres of land overlooking Lake Merritt in downtown Oakland. The complex consists of a mausoleum, the Cathedral Parish of Christ the Light (the sanctuary), a conference center, chancery office, the rectory and residence, a public plaza and garden, and a café, bookstore and below-grade parking..
The sanctuary is designed as a seismic base-isolated structure over the Mausoleum below. An under-floor air displacement system and radiant floor panels are utilized in the sanctuary seating areas to optimize occupant comfort and energy efficiency.
The base of the lens-shaped sanctuary is enclosed by a 15 ft. high concrete wall punctuated at intervals by a series of small chapels. Douglas fir laminated rafters and glass panels create a dramatic glass and wood shell that soars above the concrete base wall to a dramatic height of 117 feet. Wood panels modulate the sunlight though this airy shell. The end walls at the narthex and altar are frameless, pin-supported glass systems with perforated metal panels suspended on the interior side to control daylight. The pattern of the perforations in the panels over the altar is in the image of Christ to add symbolism and lend visual focus to the altar.
The project was completed in September 2008 and has since been featured in many design publications, including Architectural Record (January and February 2009); The New York Times (December 17 and December 23, 2008); World Architectural News (September 15, 2008), and others. Awards and recognitions include:
2009 AIA National Honor Award for Architecture
2009 AIA East Bay Honor Award
2009 Structural Engineers Association of Northern California Award of Excellence – Large Project, Landmark Structures Category
treehugger.com “Ten of the World’s Most Beautiful Green Buildings”
The New York Times “Paul Goldberger’s Architectures Ten Best of 2008”