Skidmore, Owings & Merrill: The Cathedral of Christ the Light
The Making of a 21st Century Cathedral
Introduction by Paul D. Minnihan. Text by Karla Britton, Maristella Casciato, John Cummins, Paul Goldberger, Craig Hartman, Pierluigi Serraino, Allen Henry Vigneron.
Completed in 2008, the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, California, is one of the most beautiful ecclesiastical buildings of recent times. Its design, by Craig W. Hartman of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), combines the early Christian symbol of the fish with an innovative structure made of glass, wood and concrete. A glazed, bivalve exterior envelops the building, while a layer of fritted glass diffuses light and heat. Inside, the vaulted wooden ceiling soars 130 feet upwards, where an oculus opens out to the sky. The unique Omega window behind the altar was created with the help of new technology developed specifically for the cathedral: an image of the Romanesque relief of Christ from the tympanum of Chartres Cathedral was digitized and rendered as laser-perforated holes in an aluminum panel, creating a 60-foot pixilated image. With 150 color reproductions, this volume examines Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s masterpiece.