Christ Cathedral Memorial Gardens - CODAworx

Christ Cathedral Memorial Gardens

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Client: Catholic Diocese of Orange,

Location: Garden Grove, CA, United States

Completion date: 2021

Project Team

Director of Cemeteries

Mike Wesner

Diocese of Orange

Pastor of Christ Cathedral

Fr. Christopher Smith

Diocese of Orange

Project Manager

Owen Gabbert

Devereaux Architectural Glass

Fabrication Team

Marie Swanson

Devereaux Architectural Glass

Fabrication Team

Christopher Tallant

Devereaux Architectural Glass

Architect

Barry Boudreaux

McClusky Mausoleum

Overview

Christ Cathedral, formerly the Crystal Cathedral, is a global pilgrimage place for sacred architecture. It’s author, charismatic televangelist and pastor, Robert Schuller, chose three of the 20th century’s most significant architects, Philip Johnson, Richard Neutra, and Richard Meier to design his buildings.
The Cathedral is directly across the lower cemetery and Mausoleum of the new “Memorial Gardens”. Thematically, the 700 square feet of architectural glass windows represent “The Risen Christ” worshiped by two angels. Each are fabricated in painted and kiln-fired 24 carat gold luster, and are bright and reflective both inside and outside. These are flanked by 12 large amber stained windows shaded to clear glass at the top, intended to visually connect with the opposite iconic Cathedral Tower. Weaving and reflecting throughout the interior space are 44 laminated cobalt blue flashed on clear glass windows. In between the blue glass are clear prisms referring again to the architecture of the Cathedral Tower. All of the glass was custom mouthblown in Germany and Seattle.

Goals

The goals:
Standing at the fountains near the central Cathedral, Director of Cemeteries, Mike Wesner, wanted the focus of the Mausoleum down the steps and across the cemetery to be "The Risen Christ" worshiped by two angels. It needed to be highly visible from the exterior as well to give reference to life's spiritual journey starting with our Baptism, (in the Cathedral), and ending with our death and Resurrection. (in the Mausoleum) It also needed to give visual reference to the architecture of the Cathedral.

Process

This three year process involved collaboration with the Arts Committee, made up of the Bishop, Director of Cemeteries and his Administrator, the Cathedral Pastor, the Construction Manager, off and onsite Contractors, Glaziers, our studio Project Manager, fabrication team, and the Installation team. We also collaborated with the Antique glassblowers Lamberts Glashutte in Waldsassen, and the Glass Fabrication Studio Derix in Taunusstein, Germany.
The very interactive art committee finally agreed on the image of Christ and Angels. The figures were abstractly representational. The parish is made up of 95 % Vietnamese, so a Caucasion face of Christ was rejected in favor of - first "no face", representing "all faces", then just a suggestion of a face, like a shroud. First painted with gold luster, with desirable results from the inside, but surprising and undesirable results from the outside, we painted and fired the shroud-like face lightly with black, deferring to the gold luster figures.


Additional Information

Adding a prominent architectural glass feature to the renown "Crystal" Christ Cathedral campus demanded not only a most sensitive integration with the existing architecture, but also an inspiring visual representation of the "Risen Christ" and angels. 24 carat gold luster painted and fired on both inside and outside of the figures required much labor-intensive work in the fabrication process, and the challenge of designing a face and figure of Christ to invite those who have lost loved ones to be comforted and see beyond death was a deep meditation.