Francis Krahe & Associates Unveils the Lighting for Christ Cathedral

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A postmodern masterpiece, the Crystal Cathedral, designed by world-renowned architect Philip Johnson and his partner John Burgee, re-opened its doors on July 17, 2019, after a mass renovation which included a mesmerizing daylighting and electric lighting system which blankets the more than 10,000 panes of glass. The beautiful array covers the inside glass surfaces and is fastened to the existing truss system. Arranged in various states of openness, the quatrefoils modulate the light, reduce glare, and create geometric patterns on the cathedral interior.

The Archdiocese of Orange County California purchased the postmodern masterpiece and commissioned Johnson Fain (architecture), Rios Clementi Hale (landscape architecture) and Francis Krahe and Associates (lighting design) to re-design the famous landmark.

 Re-named Christ Cathedral, more than 3,000 worshippers attended the dedication which marked the end of a two-year, $72.3 million renovation.
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A key feature of the renovation is an array of specially designed quatrefoil shades which control the sunlight and house the electric light. When the building was opened in 1981, it was the largest all-glass building in the world. The new design softens the space and creates an internally focused worship space.

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Francis Krahe, principal lighting designer states, “The quatrefoils not only shade the sun and provide the acoustical dampening, but also re-align the focal point of the people that visit the cathedral so that they are internally focused versus focusing on the exterior world.”

Please watch our video below to experience the lighting in both day and night.


Francis Krahe & Associates Inc. is recognized worldwide as an innovative architectural lighting and engineering design firm.  Established in 1983, the firm has an exceptional creative team headquartered in Los Angeles, California and a satellite office in Cleveland, Ohio which serves a diverse range of design clients who share a common goal of excellence in lighting.

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The design was also featured on Frances Anderton's podcast on KCRW: "Philip Johnson’s all-glass Crystal Cathedral born again as Christ Cathedral, with bold redesign that lets in less light"

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