Cathedral of Christ the Light

In the September 10-17, 2012 isssue, Judith Dupre reflects on the architectural achievement of the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland:

Compared with the skyscrapers in downtown Oakland, the Cathedral of Christ the Light is modest in height. Ephemeral and reflective of every passing cloud, its seeming lack of structural solidity is startling. Unlike many ecclesiastical fortresses, this cathedral exudes a sense of permeability, appearing to allow in as much as it keeps out. Since its dedication in 2008, it has been compared to a nest, a tent, a basket and other forms that are rooted in the natural world and vulnerable to its forces.

The architect Craig Hartman of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, L.L.P., a firm known for large commercial structures, intended to design an inspiring space made from light and humble materials. In all important ways, he has succeeded.

Here we present a slideshow of photographs from the cathedral.

Christian Rideout
4 years 8 months ago

I have visited the Cathedral of Christ the Light on a few occasions.  It is impressive that Bishop Cummins sought to build a cathedral in a modern style, especially after several decades of really bad to moderately good religious architecture.  Christ the Light succeeds largely because we have seen enough bad to be wary of post-modern obfuscation (as in the Los Angeles Cathedral) or modernist grandiosity (as in San Francisco's Cathedral).  Christ the Light is neither grandiose nor post-modern.  Another important influence may be the presence of some really beautiful older churches in the neighborhood.  Just across the lake, we see St. Paul's Episcopal, 100 years old in red brick gothic, just up the street First Congregational, First Presbyterian, and further across the lake, Our Lady of Lourdes, as well as St. Margaret Mary a little further away. All these were built when beauty was the goal.  


But more intriguing is the chapel at Mills College, where Bishop Cummins said mass during the 1960s.  Tiny by comparison, doesn't it remind you of the wood and concrete colors of the cathedral?  (Sorry to put a florist's blog in here but this is the best set of pictures I can find.)  http://grandi-flora.blogspot.com/2009/09/wedding-at-mills-college-chapel.html

ANN JOHNSON
4 years 8 months ago
Why isn't the whole article here? It was really interesting, and I wanted to send it to an Oakland friend with whom I visited the cathedral. But all I can send are the first two paragraphs, hardly the detailed article I wanted to send.
Luke Hansen
4 years 8 months ago
This is the Web page for the slideshow. The link to the full article is in the first line of this page.

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