Commercial Project – City Center Cathedral


The previous church project inspired me to something grander. This cathedral located in the heart of the city was inspired partly by H.H. Richardson’s Trinity Church in Boston. It is a complete fantasy project and the design of the church reflects that fanciful attitude, but despite the fairy tale image the cathedral has all of the elements to make it a fully functional religious building. I opted to elevate the cathedral above ground level for a couple of reasons. In the city center surrounded by skyscrapers the cathedral would tend to get lost, crowded out by its larger neighbors. Secondly, historic president dictates that religious architecture tends to be located atop of hillsides or mountains (to symbolically elevate the building’s importance. Early ziggurats and the Greek Parthenon follow this tradition.

The building’s brick base consists of 2 floors housing the administrative functions of the diocese, from Sunday school classrooms, a food pantry, offices for the clergy and cardinal, as well as a large function room, and space for housing the church archives (genealogy records, etc). I also included a branch of the Vatican Bank in the cathedral to address the diocese’s finances.

To reach the cathedral one enters at the ground level and either take the elevator or climb the grand staircase that rises through the building exiting at roof level. One then enters into the cathedral via the giant bronze doors. An alternate ingress route is to climb the outside staircase to reach the roof located on the rear side of the building. From the roof deck you have a good view of the city center.

The cathedral itself is slightly unorthodox as it places the main dome over the narthex rather than the transept. Also breaking tradition, the campanile is attached rather than detached from the cathedral. Parishioners can climb a spiral staircase/ or take the lift to reach the top of the bell tower for an even better view of the city and a close up look at the bells. A small stair was also placed inside one of the dome’s support columns to reach the drum of the dome. From there you can climb a latter to reach the twin spires at the very top of the cathedral for the best view of all.

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