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Best Building to See Before It's Radically Altered Orange County 2012 - Crystal Cathedral

Crystal Cathedral

12141 S. Lewis St.

Garden Grove, CA 92480


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These are the last days of the Crystal Cathedral in its monumental glory, before the Catholic Diocese of Orange transforms it into the tackily named Christ Cathedral and strips the Phillip Johnson masterpiece of its gaudy, Middle America, prosperity-gospel excess. And while no one in Orange County wants to support the greedy Schullers who declared bankruptcy while stiffing their own congregants, this is a part of Orange County heritage as endangered as an orange grove—go now. No sermon necessary!


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A beautiful church with over three decades of history, it is slightly unprecedented that it could get into over $43 million in debt. But with reports surfacing that the owners were using the church as their own personal treasure chest, it is hardly a surprise. Still, regardless of the Vatican finding that the church looks too much like a multi-purpose hall rather than a traditional church, it is aesthetically striking, though not everyone thinks so. This is probably why the church will go through an extreme makeover of $50 million. Bring on the architects, heavy equipment and a huge workforce. It is likely that the church will be given such a severe makeover, it will look entirely different.