This project ruptures the static postmodern design of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels with contemporary form and details. The cathedral addition introduces warmth, mystery and visual complexity to the cold and austere existing church as a means to challenge the spiritual patron and aid in their continued growth.
The new design is drawn in a response to the geometric massing and sharp lines of Rafael Moneo’s existing cathedral. The existing cathedral is split through the nave to produce two halves that exhibit two competing formal logics, strategies of organization and atmospheric sensations.
This rupture in the cathedral simultaneously unites and separates the old from the new while allowing for visual and experiential interest to come from the juxtaposition of these two halves in tension.
The design is derived through a study of unit aggregation and bunching. Individual units are clumped together in a messy growth in order to achieve unpredictable proximities in what can be understood as a new singular mass. This new mass is then sliced and cut to reveal the intricacy of the internal spaces and spatial qualities.
Evidence of the richness of the new design is seen in the cathedral nave. One half is left in the original cold sharp stone lines while the other half imposes itself, a textural and organic presence in the space.
The floor plan illustrates the relationship between the old and the new geometry. The curvilinear elements of the new interacts with the rigid geometry of the old allowing for a variety of unusual and unexpected spaces.
Throughout the design light and mood are constantly shifting between the dark areas enclosed in the opaque shell to areas of vivid translucency that create a modern day stained glass effect.
The result of the design is the creation of a multitude of spaces that inspire an awe and mystery and a celebration of spirituality while seeking a narrative between the light and dark spaces. The new design allows for more possibilities- for both interaction and for solitude and allows the church to better fulfill its role in modern society.
Status: School Project
Location: Los Angeles, CA, US
Additional Credits: Design: Jason Orbe-Smith
Advisor: Hernan Diaz-Alonso
SCI-Arc, 3GAX Studio, Fall 2012