Cathedral of Christ the Light

With a Building Form Based on an Inner Wooden Vessel Contained Within a Veil of Glass, the Project Conveys an Inclusive Statement of Welcome and Openness

Key Statistics


Oakland, CA


Catholic Cathedral Corporation


322,317 square feet

3 levels above grade


LEED Certification:


Delivery Model:



Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill, LLP

Cathedral of Christ the Light located in Oakland, CA is a ground-up, Type IV concrete superstructure religious facility project with tension-supported, glue-laminated timber. This project is designed by Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill, LLP. This GMP project totals 322,817 SF throughout one structure with three levels above grade and two levels below grade. Connected parking totals 74,449 SF and 200 stalls. The Roman Catholic cathedral is the first cathedral built entirely in the 21st century and replaces the Cathedral of Saint Francis de Sales, which was irreparably damaged in the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989.

The project is composed of the cathedral church, the chancery office of the bishop's curia, a conference center, rectory, Order of Malta Northern California Health Clinic, a mausoleum, City Lights Cafe and the Cathedral Shop, a public plaza, garden, and parking. With a building form based on an inner wooden vessel contained within a veil of glass, both of which are anchored on an architectural concrete base, the design achieves an extraordinary level of lightness and luminosity through the highly innovative use of modest materials and sustainable design strategies. The 1,500-seat cathedral services approximately 530,000 Catholics. Webcor self-performed concrete, carpentry, and building specialties.


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