American Society of Civil Engineers


The Materials of the Cathedral of Christ the Light


by Mark Sarkisian, (PE, SE, Director, Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP, San Francisco, CA), Peter Lee, (PE, SE, Associate Director, Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP, San Francisco, CA), Eric Long, (PE, SE, Associate Director, Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP, San Francisco, CA), and C. Keith Boswell, (AIA, Director, Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP, San Francisco, CA)
Section: Case Studies, pp. 327-334, (doi:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/41168(399)39)

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: AEI 2011: Building Integration Solutions
Abstract: The Cathedral of Christ the Light serves as the Diocese of Oakland’s new multi-use facility replacing the historic St. Francis de Sales Cathedral damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. Set on a prominent, two-block site overlooking Oakland’s Lake Merritt, the 1,350-seat Cathedral is the centerpiece of a 224,000-square-foot complex with a complement of facilities that include a mausoleum, a conference center, administrative offices, bishop and clergy residences, a bookstore, a café, and community-serving ministries. A landscaped public plaza, accessible from all directions, firmly links the center with the city’s commercial downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. The geometry of the Cathedral is derived from Vesica Pisces motif and concepts using intersecting spheres to create a symbolic form. The Cathedral incorporates a highly innovative use of modest materials including glued-laminated timber, architecturally exposed self-consolidating reinforced concrete, high strength steel, aluminum and glass to provide lightness and luminosity in an efficient structural form designed to endure centuries.


ASCE Subject Headings:
Construction materials
Religious buildings
Case studies
California