Our Lady of the Angels -- Below
is an excerpt from www.olacathedral.org:
The 151 million pound Cathedral rests on 198 base isolators so that it
will float up to 27 inches during a magnitude 8 point earthquake. The
design is so geometrically complex that none of the concrete forms could
vary by more than 1/16th of an inch.
The Cathedral is built with architectural concrete in a color
reminiscent of the sun-baked adobe walls of the California Missions and is
designed to last 500 years."
I suppose, in 500 years, we'll get used to it. Designed by Spanish
architect Josť Rafael Moneo, the $163 million project to replace the
earthquake-stricken St Vibiana Cathedral was never to suffer the same fate
again. It remains to be seen whether such powerful engineering can indeed
withstand the moving earth, but until the ground shakes, its stark
geometry can certainly be quite intimidating to behold.
Perhaps, in five centuries, we'll also forget the cathedral's most
inauspicious debut in 2002, its being consecrated during the height of the
nationwide pedophilia scandals amongst the Catholic priesthood. It was inevitable
that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the largest in North America, had its
part in such sordid affairs, as Cardinal Roger Mahoney admitted to the
transferring of several priests with known records of sexual misconduct.
This is hardly the first modern cathedral wrought in controversy. The
laity thoroughly detested the replacement of the ancient Gothic wonder
leveled by German bombs in Coventry, England: the uncomfortable design
did, in its own fashion, portray the uncertainty towards the future felt
by the post-war generation. In Germany, the burghers thought it best
either to restore old churches to their pre-war countenance, or to leave
their ruins as they are to become monuments of their own right. If
visitors in Berlin ever had to complain about the steel-and-glass oddity
standing next to a Baroque ruin, all they had to do was to reflect on the
meaning of the name "Memorial Church."
These photos are taken with the Nikon D100 digital SLR and
the Nikon f/2.8 20mm D lens.