Page B1.1 . 29 March 2006                     
ArchitectureWeek - Building Department
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Sacramental Restoration

by Brian Libby

The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament has been an impressive landmark of California's capital city of Sacramento ever since its 1889 completion. But by the turn of the 21st century, it had deteriorated and been found incapable of withstanding the next big earthquake. Now, a $34.5 million restoration has rescued this spiritual oasis in a political city.

The cathedral was designed by architect Bryan Clinch in a Renaissance style recalling "The Duomo" in Florence and St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The French cathedral L'Eglise de la Trinité in Paris, however, more tangibly inspired its crucifix-shaped form, as requested by Patrick Monague, who was Bishop of Sacramento in 1886 and who had studied in Paris.

Rescuing the Sacramento cathedral was Beyer Blinder Belle, the New York and Washington, DC-based firm whose restoration portfolio includes Grand Central Terminal, the U.S. Capitol, and Ellis Island's main building. "When we arrived on the jobsite in 2001, the building was in a sad shape," recalls Jim Shepherd, Beyer Blinder Belle's project architect for the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.   >>>

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Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, in Sacramento, California, designed by Bryan Clinch and restored by Beyer Blinder Belle.
Photo: David Wakely

ArchWeek Image

The restored sanctuary of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.
Photo: David Wakely

 

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