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Johnson Fain: The Latest Architecture and News

How the Crystal Cathedral Is Adapting for a New Life Out of the Spotlight

16:00 - 28 December, 2016
How the Crystal Cathedral Is Adapting for a New Life Out of the Spotlight, The interior of the Crystal Cathedral in 2005. Image © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CrystalCathedral.jpg'>Wikimedia user Nepenthes</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a>
The interior of the Crystal Cathedral in 2005. Image © Wikimedia user Nepenthes licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

When the Crystal Cathedral was constructed near Los Angeles in 1980, its design was pure Hollywood: designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee for televangelist star Robert Schuller, the design combined traditional elements of church design with features that made it suitable for television broadcasts. However, when Crystal Cathedral Ministries filed for bankruptcy in 2010, the building was passed to a very different tenant, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, who then commissioned Los Angeles-based firm Johnson Fain to adapt the building to be a better fit for the Catholic Church.

A recent article by Mimi Zeiger for Architect Magazine investigates how Johnson Fain are converting the 1980 classic into something more suitable for its new life out of the spotlight—including modulating the light within the vast all-glass structure and rearranging the seating.

Philip Johnson's Crystal Cathedral Born Again

00:00 - 2 October, 2013
Philip Johnson's Crystal Cathedral Born Again, © Flickr CC User Amir Nejad
© Flickr CC User Amir Nejad

Johnson Fain and Rios Clementi Hale Studios have been selected to transform Philip Johnson's 1981 Crystal Cathedral, originally a Protestant mega-church, to make it more in keeping with its new, Catholic identity.

The Cathedral, which had filed for bankruptcy in October 2010, was bought in early 2012 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. Earlier this month, the architects were chosen for the renovation: Johnson Fain will focus on the interior, while Rios Clementi Hale Studios will oversee the masterplan of its 34-acre campus.