Guest Post by Hatem Wagih | A building in the name of God, This is how History Channel documented this Church, the Crystal Cathedral designed by American Institute of Architects’ gold-medal winner, Philip Johnson, with his partner, John Burgee, Johnson has called the Crystal Cathedral his “capo lavoro”…the crowning achievement of his career…a dream fulfilled.
As Dr. Robert H. Schuller, the cathedral’s pastor, remembers how it was wonderful in his drive-in church 1955 where no walls and ceilings limiting people’s relation with the sky, that was the main reason it was built with walls and a roof made of crystal-clear glass that lets the sun and sky sparkle through the wonderful sanctuary.
The Crystal Cathedral spans a full 126.5 meters in length, 63 meters in width and 39 meters in height. Two large balconies are located on both sides of the main hall carried by large concrete columns which has white marbleized finish. Such columns are hinged at the foundation to allow for movement and withstand an earthquake of 8 degrees on the Richter scale and a wind tunnel of 100 miles per hour.
The cathedral is not air conditioned, rather, it is cooled by fresh air flowing from the ground level through clerestory windows which open and close thermostatically. Heat flows from underground pipes to regulate temperature in the cooler months.