Catholicism isn’t really my cup of tea… all this business about sinning! But if there were ever something that might make me want to convert, it would undoubtedly be the experience of walking into this church. It’s like no church I’ve ever seen.
The building was designed by architect Craig Hartman of the San Francisco firm of Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill. You might recognize his work from another famous Bay Area structure… the international terminal of SFO. Having just been there days ago, there are definite stylistic similarities, in use of materials (especially metal and glass) and in the manipulation of space and light.
What’s different is the feeling you have when you enter the Cathedral of Christ the Light. And you do feel something.
It is considered to be one of the most “riveting examples of recent architecture” in the Bay Area, and I think I can speak for many when I say, we are happy to claim it as our own in good ol’ Oaktown.
Though the architecture is truly modern, it has “strong underpinnings in traditional religious architecture, such as the concentric plans of Renaissance chapels, or the manipulation of light in Baroque churches.” This information, and much more about its design, can be found here, on Architectural Record’s website.
There is a small memorial garden dedicated to the victims of clergy sexual abuse.
And below is a shot in the crypt/mausoleum in the the lower level of the building, which is quite stunning in itself, and incorporates the original 1870 stained glass windows taken from the previous church (Cathedral of Saint Francis de Sales) which was damaged in the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989. We’ll be talking more about that tomorrow…