Better during the day than at night! (But not a lot better) I didn't feel overly safe here at night...then again it was midnight and I was alone walking down Broadway. The area was full of bums and other creatures of the night (and I'm not talking about the wolves in Jack London Square!).
Washington Street in the heart of the dining and entertainment district, from about 8th to 13th Streets. Broadway Street takes you straight to the heart of Jack London Square, and the BART station is at Broadway and 12th.
Over the next few years, downtown Oakland will be the focus of a $350-million revitalization effort linking City Hall, the Oakland Federal Building, and a new State of California Building with other area landmarks to create a multi-faceted government center.
The acclaimed 17-story, 1914 Beaux Arts-style building was America's first government highrise and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Following the 1989 earthquake, the magnificent building was restored to its original splendor, complete with a state-of-the-art seismic retrofit.
The Cathedral of Christ the Light is a replacement of the Oakland Cathedral destroyed in the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989. The Church was designed by Skidmore Owings & Merril which is a firm known primarily for skyscrapers and large construction projects.
The Cathedral’s form is the shape of 2 intersecting spheres. Where the intersections happen the façade is inverted to show the intersections of materials. From the outside, the building is a curved curtain wall which has allowed the metal mulleins to extend beyond the last effective panel to suggest a sense infinity or moving from the earthly into the divine. The building is 136 feet tall (41 meters), which certainly instills a sense of monumentality.
The form has been criticized for looking like ‘a vagina’ as one person claimed. In my opinion it is a beautiful form of simple geometry. Two spheres meeting and forming the shell of a Cathedral. Certainly when you start to put material to those spheres the building becomes infinitely more complex but the construction and design very well dealt with those problems.
Additional criticism is directed at the cost of the new Cathedral. Like The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles this church was very expensive. A construction cost estimated at $190 million was required.
Inside the Cathedral of Christ the Light it is another story. The large curtain wall spheres are only evident if one is looking for them. Instead the predominant element is the same intersecting sphere idea but with a totally different material.
In fact, nearly every surface in the interior is made from the same material. Clear vertical grain fir both dimensional and glue-laminated timbers are used for the interior structure. There are huge screens of laminated beams that make up the ceiling which certainly account for some of the cost ($190 million) in building the structure.
The light filtration through these screens is a signature feature of this cathedral. Also dealing with light is the floor to ceiling punched aluminum image of Christ just behind the altar.
In every room and element the architects attempted to use some aspect with the CVG fir material. The confessional room features another fir screen and is one of the few places to see the curtain wall exterior; looking up two skylights view between the two shells.
The mausoleum beneath the main sanctuary is just as impressive. Using the CVG fir stacked to form full walls the space also uses more expensive materials like onyx and carrara white marble from Italy. In all the space is similar to the Mausoleum at the Cathedral of our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles except a bit smaller.
It is however a very humbling space to be in. as you enter from above there are 2 water features on either side of the processional corridor that have water tumbling down textured onyx which is meant to remind visitors of their baptism. From there the plan allows you to walk in semicircular paths by niches and crypts or directly to the catafalque altar.
If you are curious, the cost to place your remains in this mausoleum it is between $1,500 and $110,000 depending on the location and space allotted.
The Paramount Theatre, built in 1931 by architect Timothy L. Phlueger in an Art Deco style which was notable for the depression era in which it was bulit. The façade features large motif’s recalling Mesoamerican artwork.
The structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 after an extensive restoration effort. The Art Deco style was popular for a short period of time but fell out of favor with more rigid modernist type buildings which were typically less expensive and faster to build.
Oakland's East Bay Symphony no owns and operates the Paramount and it is recognized as a premier venue for performing arts.