Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels

Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church
Los Angeles, CA

Design Architect: Jose Rafael Moneo, Madrid
Executive Architect/Engineer: Leo A. Daly
General Contractor: Morley Construction Company, Santa Monica, CA
Photographer: Andy Ryan 

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The “Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels” Catholic Church, located in downtown Los Angeles, was built in 1998 to replace a church that suffered substantial damage in the 1994 earthquake. 

The 151 million pound Cathedral rests on 198 base isolators so that it will float up to 27 inches during a magnitude 8 point earthquake. The design is so geometrically complex that none of the concrete forms could vary by more than 1/16th of an inch. 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. 

Following extensive testing of several cements, white cement from Lehigh White’s Denmark partner, Aalborg Portland, was selected for the 24,000 cubic yards of architectural concrete. Aalborg white cement outperformed all other products due to its Type V characteristics, which was critical in controlling the heat of hydration in walls that are up to five feet thick. 

Morley Construction Company, the general contractor, partnered with Catalina Pacific Concrete to supply the ready-mix concrete. The project consumed approximately 6,000 metric tons of Aalborg cement. Both the owner and contractor were extremely satisfied with the results of the Aalborg product, which not only controlled the heat of hydration, but also contributed to a uniform color in the pigmented light-tan colored concrete.