The Cathedral of Christ the Light resonates as a place of worship and instills a sense of solace, spiritual renewal, and respite from the secular world — it provides a sanctuary in the broadest sense of the word.
Located in downtown Oakland, and composed of a 1,350-seat sanctuary with side chapels, a baptistery, and dependencies, the cathedral honors its religious and civic obligations to both the Catholic Diocese and the city.
With a building form based on an inner wooden vessel contained within a veil of glass — both of which are anchored on an architectural concrete base — the design conveys an inclusive statement of welcome and openness as the community’s symbolic soul. The design achieves an extraordinary level of lightness and luminosity through the highly innovative use of modest materials and sustainable design strategies.
The cathedral is part of a larger complex woven together by gardens by landscape architects Peter Walker and Partners. Praising its design as well as its cultural and civic role within the city, the Oakland Planning Commission granted unanimous approval of the project in 2004.
Construction began in spring 2005 and was completed in 2008.
Photo credits: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill