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Christ Catholic Cathedral
Garden Grove, CA


Mark Rios
Frank Clementi
Samantha Harris
Michael Sweeney
Brent Jacobsen
Mike Tramutola


In Progress
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange’s acquisition of the legendary Crystal Cathedral is an opportunity to re-imagine the entire 34-acre campus as the focal point for Orange County’s Catholics and a global center for Catholic life, with Philip Johnson's iconic cathedral at its center. After a competition in 2013, Rios Clementi Hale Studios was hired to design both a campus master plan and a series of large public plazas, and Johnson Fain was hired the renovate the cathedral's interior. Both firms are working in parallel as part of the cathedral’s rechristening as Christ Cathedral.

The liturgical space of the Cathedral is the core of both the Diocesan mission and the campus itself. A new plaza rings that sacred heart of the campus with four overlapping courtyards to welcome the entire community—Catholic & non-Catholic alike—for liturgical and non-liturgical programming. Around the edge of
the plaza, a canopy of trees shades the perimeter and creates a transitional margin that allows for more varied uses of the space, while also separating the more profane, everyday world from the sacred space of the cathedral and the surrounding plaza.

Our overarching goal is to create a landscape that is commensurate in design excellence to the existing architecture on the campus, and that prioritizes people over cars to create flexible opportunities for large, communal ceremonies and programs. Other elements of the design include active water features that breathe life into the plaza, enhanced and accessible pedestrian circulation, and a dedicated garden for the original sculptures and memorials installed by the Crystal Cathedral Ministries to welcome those who once worshiped here.