The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament is one of the largest cathedrals west of the Mississippi River. The architectural style of the church is Italian Renaissance on the exterior and Victorian on the interior. Over the years, with repairs, changes in color schemes and changes to the liturgy, the Church lost its stylistic unity. From August 2003 until November 2005, the Cathedral closed for extensive remodeling to unify the church’s décor from the numerous renovations throughout the years. In this renovation were significant additions, including a Eucharistic chapel, two side chapels, and a large crucifix below the domed crossing. But the largest change was the re-opening of the dome, which was closed in the 1930s for acoustic reasons. The Eucharistic chapel (or Blessed Sacrament Chapel) pays an architectural homage to the chancel screens of medieval churches. It allows for the tabernacle to remain in plain view of the congregation and be in line with the High Altar while also allowing for a private devotional space outside of the celebration of the Mass. The words of the Eucharistic hymn Pange Lingua Gloriosi are inscribed in gold lettering on the screen Every part of the cathedral was updated in the restoration ranging from expanded pews to better lighting with decorative painting on the interior walls and ceiling. QuarryHouse’s charge was the to design, engineer, carve and install the Tabernacle, High Alter and Baptistry. We engaged Chesney’s of London architectural carving service to team with us in taking on the complex work of creating these classical forms in a challenging engineering environment. Statuary Marble and Dark Emperador Marble where chosen for the work and as line drawings for the carving commenced we turned to the challenging task of engineering the tabernacle, a fragile stone structure that must meet stringent seismic requirements for the project. We employed an innovative post tensioned system of stainless steel supports completely enclosed in the solid marble carvings. We sent our Project Manager, Eugenio Arcangeli, a third generation marble mason born in Verona Italy, to oversea the carving at Chesney’s atelier in China, making sure that every detail was perfect, and that we remained on schedule with the massive renovation project. The QuarryHouse team delivered all of the carvings on time and each piece fit perfectly in place.
The restoration is the largest financial project the diocese has ever undertaken, with the $34 million cost coming from various sources.
- Project Manager: Eugenio Arcangeli
- Foreman: Hermino Ochoa
|Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament||http://www.cathedralsacramento.org/Gallery/FirstCommunion2008gallery.html|
|Beyer, Blinder, Bell Architects||http://www.beyerblinderbelle.com/?ID=158|
|Chesneys Architectural Carvers||http://chesneys.com/support/about-us/portfolio/cathedral-of-the-sacred-blessed-usa|
Looking at the high altar under the renewed rotunda.
The view from the main aisle towards the alter.
Here you can see the detail work on the high altar, the precise inlays all carved in solid block marble.
Looking down at the baptistry and mosaic.
The most challenging piece of our work was the tabernacle, which stands over 12 feet tall and is carved from large solid blocks of statuary marble. Supporting the weight of the roof pediments and cupola presented unique engineering challenges which we solved by employing an innovative post tensioned stone support structure that is embedded in the stone.
This close up shows the detailed carving of the corinthian capitals and the gold leaf interior of the cupola.
The celebration of mass for the opening of the renewed cathedral. All of our employees we’re proud to have been included in the talented artisans who worked on creating this stunning example of ecclesiastical art.