Last week I took advantage of the fact that I had to be downtown to also visit and photograph a few of LA’s landmarks. The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels was one of them.
In 1996, renowned Spanish architect José Rafael Moneo was commissioned to design a new cathedral for Los Angeles to replace the Cathedral of Saint Vibiana, severely damaged during the 1994 earthquake. The fact that the 5.6 acre site overlooked the Hollywood Freeway did not deter Moneo. Just as many European Cathedrals are built near rivers, Moneo considered the freeway as Los Angeles’ river of transportation, the connection of people to each other.
Using elements of postmodern architecture, the church and the Cathedral Center feature a series of acute and obtuse angles while avoiding right angles. The tapestries that adorn the cathedral walls were created by artist John Nava. This is the largest collection hanging in a Catholic place of worship in the United States. The “Communion of Saints” consists of females and males of all ages, races, occupations and vocations the world over. Saints from the Renaissance period are intermingled with people from the 1st century and the 20th century.
The cathedral was almost empty and very quiet when I visited. I wonder what it’s like to be there for mass when it’s filled to capacity, on Christmas, Easter, and other holidays.