Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

Day trip to LA for business and wrapped up the meeting early enough to check out one of the new Architectural statments in the Civic Center before flying home. Thinking that I could see the inside of the new cathedral I chose it over the Disney Concert Hall. The Spanish architect, José Rafael Moneo, wanted to echo the Spanish mission heritage of the church in California.
My impression is that the building is heavy-handed and sterile. Impressive and dramatic without managing to be spiritual. Monochromatic in it's concrete walls and concrete colored windows. Spacy in its lopsided basilica form. The location is a disaster, between the county mall and the freeway in one dimension and the county cogen plant and the Music Center Annex in the other. Perhaps it looks good from the freeway. From the other sides it more resembles a prison. Even when you walk around to the entrance leading to a courtyard, it lacks drama. I give it two stars, mostly for trying so hard.

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