Co-Cathedral of The Sacred Heart
Ziegler Cooper Architects was commissioned by Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to design the new Cathedral that will become the ecclesiastical center for the Archdiocese. The Archbishop´s challenge to his architects was to build a Cathedral for the ages, one of profound spiritual expression and enduring artistic quality. When viewed in the context of time, the design team had been asked to contemplate a 500 year-planning horizon.
Located in the southern central business district of downtown Houston, The Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart has become a critical element in the redevelopment of the Main Street corridor occupying an entire city block and creating a new landmark: Cathedral Square.
The Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart is steeped in both history and faith and will serve the 1.3 million Roman Catholics in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. To begin the architectural process, the design team traveled to Europe to visit scores of cathedrals, immersing themselves in the rich history and architecture of these magnificent structures.
The architecture is inspired by the Italian Romanesque style, showing simplicity of line without being pretentious of overly ornamented. The exterior is built with over 73,000 square feet of Indiana limestone which was chosen for its qualities of strength and permanence as well as its warmth and richness. The copper dome which crowns the co-cathedral supports a 17 foot high, gold leaf cross-one of three crosses adorning the co-cathedral and the bell tower that will serve as shining beacons of faith amid the downtown skyline.
A carillon of 23 bells ring out from the campanile beckoning all who worship. Towering above the entrance on the front fašade, a forty-foot tall stained glass window of the Risen Christ over the city skyline reaches out to embrace the world and invite all to come to him.
The entrance to the co-cathedral is both gracious and imposing. Polished gold-veined white marble frames the vaulting entry doors. Visitors pass through the Narthex that is a small intimate space compared to the immensity of the co-cathedral.
Upon entering the main body of the cathedral eyes are immediately drawn upward to the grand dome. Rising 125 feet above the alter; the dome is encircled by twelve windows of stained glass bearing the images of the twelve apostles. At the center of the dome is an eight foot circular oculus of the Holy Spirit fashioned in stained glass. Seven flames of the fire radiate from the dove imparting the seven-fold gifts of the Spirit upon the Church.
A twelve foot, 1800-pound, Crucifix presides over the sanctuary. Behind the Crucifix is a backdrop of brightly gilded textured wood which represents the hope of Christ´s resurrection and the joy that he will come again. The artist, Professor Edmund Rabanser, carved this wooden image of Christ in such a way that his gaze is upon the action of the altar, where his saving death and resurrection are represented in celebration of the Mass.
Scope of Services:
Master Planning & Architectural Design Services
2008 Golden Trowel Excellence Award | Government/Institutional
Association of Masonry Contractors of Houston
View Co-Cathedral of The Sacred Heart Web Site