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The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles  

This brief guide was designed to accompany the Visions and Voices tour with the artist John Nava, Friday, January 28, 2011.
Last Updated: Aug 19, 2011 URL: http://libguides.usc.edu/lacathedral Print Guide Email Alerts

Historic Information Print Page

Brief History of the Cathedral


The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles is located at 555 West Temple Street, Los Angeles, and is the seat of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

The building was designed by José Rafael Moneo, a Spanish architect and winner of the Pritzker Prize (the highest honor in the field of architecture) in 1995.

Plans for a Cathedral in Los Angles began as early as 1859. Eventually, the Cathedral on Main and Second Streets was built and dedicated to St. Vibiana in 1876 by Archbishop Joseph Sadoc Alemany of San Francisco, and completed four years and $80,000 later. Using land donated to the Church by Amiel Cavalier, architect Ezra Kysor designed the building. The interior was remodeled about 1895, using onyx and marble. The exterior facade of the building was changed from 1922-24 to give it its present look, said to be based on a Roman design.

After the Northridge Earthquake of 1994, the City of Los Angeles condemned the old St. Vibiana's Cathedral.  Eventually, the new site was identified, and a design architect – José Rafael Moneo – was selected.  The Cathedral is built with architectural concrete in a color reminiscent of the sun-baked adobe walls of the California Missions and is designed to last 500 years, and dedicated in 2002.

Among the notable artistic features of the cathedral are the bronze doors, designed by the sculptor Robert Graham, and the tapestries designed by the artist John Nava.  These and various other artistic and architectural features are described on the web site for the cathedral, http://www.olacathedral.org/

* Asterisk in guide title indicates core subject guide

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