St. Vibiana Cathedral
Los Angeles, California
As a means to save downtown’s imperiled St. Vibiana’s Cathedral, the LA Conservancy invited nine architects to develop projects which would preserve the cathedral by integrating it with an economically self–sufficient building program. The project is based on a cultural and physical connection to the adjacent business and commercial district of Little Tokyo. The program includes both a place to exhibit Japanese regional arts and crafts folklore, as well as a place for the sale and exhibition of current Japanese electronic and computer equipment.
The new building was conceived as an ascending ground–skin–plane which wraps around the traditional cathedral – acting as an attenuated foil to its symmetrical, sturdy massing. At once framing the cathedral as well as asserting its own presence, the added building complex aims to highlight the site’s historical significance while injecting it with an ambitious new programmatic use.