Crystal Cathedral – Garden Grove

““Come as you are … In the family car!” – Robert Schuller

I am not religious, but I am spiritual – I have visited several Hindu temples- Prayer Halls-Monasteries, Mosques-tombs and Churches-Missions-Cathedrals. I make a conscious effort to not to listen to the history of the religion, or to the religious teachings, but I spend time walking in the empty hallways, and sitting down in their courtyards – peaceful moments when architecture encloses your being, and frees you at the same time to be emotionally overwhelmed to connect with the truth closer to your heart. I love losing myself to religious architecture.

Last evening wasn’t a planned outing. Mom Taxi (my extensive experience qualifies me to apply for a Uber Job, but then mommy mood swings won’t be entertained by Uber customers) I was out to drop off the child to the Annual Military Ball, and the traffic was so bad, I didn’t have the courage to put my car back on that gridlocked freeway. From the parking lot, I saw the Prayer Spire of the Crystal Cathedral – Robert Schuller, who founded the church passed away yesterday. I took it as a sign, and drove down the street to document the building through my Droid. I still haven’t found time to get a new charger for my professional grade camera!

Everyone knows Robert Schuller, and for those who don’t, there is a plethora of Wikipedia and YouTube information. Same with Neutra, and his design philosophies. Philip Johnson and his works in Architecture. Richard Meier. I don’t want to copy down information from here and there, and try to summarize it all. “Drive-in Church”- now that’s a new concept, not completely captured by Wikipedia, and still faces a lot of criticism. Robert Schuller was the pioneer of that concept, what with preaching from the roof of a concession stand in a drive-in movie theater. In my opinion, if you want to feel closer to God through the preaching, without the distractions of dressing to the nine and the person next to you, it’s perfect – but like me, if architecture defines your thoughts, you have to get out of that car and open yourself to be consumed by the walls and ceilings.


“I like the thought that what we are to do on this earth is embellish it for its greater beauty, so that oncoming generations can look back to the shapes we leave here and get the same thrill that I get in looking back at theirs – at the Parthenon, at Chartres Cathedral”- Philip Johnson


“God is in the details—right, Philip?” he said. “I’m willing to give up space for myself on the podium, but I will not compromise on a single detail of this plan.”- Robert Schuller


“Anybody can build a building, putting some doors into it, but how many times have you been in a building that moves you to tears the way Beethoven’s ‘Eighth’ does?” – Philip Johnson


“To me, the drive for monumentality is as inbred as the desire for food and sex, regardless of how we denigrate it. Monuments differ in different periods. Each age has its own” – Philip Johnson


“When I think of a place of worship, I think of a place where one can sit and be reminded of all the things that are important outside our individual lives. To express spirituality, the architect has to think of the original material of architecture, space and light.” ~ Richard Meier


” It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.” – Robert H. Schuller
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“Some people are at the top of the ladder, some are in the middle, still more are at the bottom, and a whole lot more don’t even know there is a ladder.” – Robert H. Schuller


“I am an eyewitness to the ways in which people relate to themselves and to each other, and my work is a way of scooping and ladling that experience.”- Richard Neutra

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