Two architectural firms will collaborate on the renovation and development of the new Christ Cathedral (the former Crystal Cathedral) for the Diocese of Orange.The selection of Johnson Fain and Rios Clementi Hale Studios was announced Sept. 18 at the eighth annual Orange County Catholic Prayer breakfast held within the glass fa√ßade of the Christ Cathedral. Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange made the announcement, which concluded a long consultative process that involved a committee of clergy, lay leaders from the real estate and development communities, and architectural and liturgical experts.“A cathedral --- like any church, synagogue or mosque --- says to those who come to it, ‘Here we look to heaven for the grace to do God’s loving will on earth,’” said Bishop Vann. “The Crystal Cathedral is an established international landmark and is much lauded for its architectural inspiration and iconic stature. At its dedication the Architectural Record described the building as ‘both an inspiring and an inspired structure.’ “Johnson Fain and Rios Clementi Hale Studios have the experience and ability to respect the building’s original design inspiration while creating a fitting and functional spiritual home for Orange County’s 1.3 million Catholics. These two firms see this important work as more than a renovation project, but as a reflection of God and his people on earth.” Johnson Fain, whose design partner Scott Johnson worked with Philip Johnson in the original design and construction of the Crystal Cathedral, will lead the renovation of the cathedral. The international design firm will re-imagine the interior of the structure to support the celebration of Catholic liturgy and the Eucharist. “The transformation of Garden Grove’s landmark Crystal Cathedral into Christ Cathedral for the Diocese of Orange is a magnificent opportunity in many ways,” said Scott Johnson. “As a place of assembly and worship, the Cathedral will be of a sufficient scale to embrace visitors and the Catholic community at a grand scale.”In addition to the cathedral itself, he said, the entire site will be master planned and developed to support a wide range of events, celebrations and ritual assemblies inside and out. Landscape, paving and access to all areas of the site will be upgraded.The external fa√ßade of the globally recognizable building will remain essentially unchanged; the interior will be altered to support the aforementioned elements.In the Cathedral, said Johnson, the landmark architecture of the building shell will be cleaned and restored. Interior improvements on the main floor and mezzanines will upgrade access, sightlines, finishes and environmental comfort. Interior architecture will be designed to host an array of liturgical and non-liturgical celebrations and events. “The historic and internationally renowned organ which has been in place since the cathedral opened will be meticulously restored and reinstalled,” concluded Johnson. “Acoustics and lighting will be improved and the new cathedral will be open in renewed form to all.”Because Catholic worship extends beyond the confines of the church, the diocesan architectural and renovations committee spent a great deal of time discerning a design direction and concept for the common outdoor areas of the campus. The committee felt these needs were best addressed though the selection of a collaborating site architect --- Rios Clementi Hale Studios --- which, officials said, “presented a unique inspiration for the campus during the consultative period and demonstrated a proven capacity to develop engaging, inspiring and flexible outdoor spaces.”Rios Clementi Hale recently designed the Grand Park in Los Angeles. “Their demonstrated ability to reflect the diversity of Los Angeles, while offering truly usable space was an important factor in their selection,” said Bishop Vann. “The decision to retain two noteworthy design firms, who have collaborated on past projects, will allow the Church to meet its many complementary goals for the Christ Cathedral and its 34-acre campus.”“We are thrilled to be part of this opportunity to help steward a great future for the Catholic Church,” said Mark Rios, principal of Rios Clementi Hale. “The existing buildings all have a high caliber of architectural excellence and character, which we feel the site needs to match. It is our charge to bring a strong identity to the site that will unite the campus and make a place that welcomes the community and supports the ceremonies and rituals of God.”Christ Cathedral --- 129 feet tall (12 stories), 141 feet long and 207 feet wide --- is constructed entirely of glass and steel, with more than 10,000 panes of mirrored glass. The main sanctuary that seats nearly 3,000 people will become a spiritual home to Orange County’s more than 1.2 million Catholics. The Cathedral will close for an extensive $29 million renovation that will remake this space as a place of Catholic worship, reopening after its formal dedication in late 2015 or 2016.“Orange County is a bustling place, with lots of noise and traffic and endless activity, a place where we can often feel isolated,” said Bishop Vann. “The day when the Cathedral in Garden Grove becomes our center of gravity, we as Catholics will make believers and non-believers our welcome guests. We and they will find it a place of refuge. Our Cathedral will be a place for involvement in the sacraments, a place to hear the Word of God proclaimed and a place for personal prayer and devotion. It will be a holy place where God dwells among us.”{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0927/occathedral/{/gallery}