issue : 122002

With more than 5 acres of land, the new cathedral (completed in 2002) sits on a raised platform next to 101 FWY in downtown Los Angeles. Whether one agrees or not with the need of $200+ million cathedral during years of tribulation within Catholicism, politics aside, the new cathedral offers something Los Angeles lacks: well built space. The project architect, Rafael Moneo of Spain does what he does best: modern interjection into classical context. It is classic in all sense of organization and yet its UV filtered light through jagged forms can be modern and simple. Three main elements to concentrate when you visit: natural light filtering through alabaster into its various interior spaces, somewhat overwhelming 'adobe' colored treated concrete surfaces, and 2 1/2 acre of open piazza for public event and daily stroll through its growing flower garden.

On the other hand, not so interesting or disappointment occurs in its pedestrian treatment and urban connection around its perimeter or lack there of. Although it isn't all fault of design, with given budget, significance of the church, and world renowned architect involved, it would have been nice to investigate how it can physically relate to the urban fabric of downtown rather than becoming a modern fortress.

:: REF ::
Official Website
LA Times
Rafael Moneo
Architectural Record
KCRW: City Observed

*To enhance your virtual visit, there are many photos hidden inside: from piazza, south ambulatory, central nave to the alter and detail shots, so explore!

*open daily (varying hours), with underground parking