21st Century Seismic Design Saves an Architectural Landmark

Performance-Based Retrofit of a Mid-Century Masterpiece

This is the story of a prominent piece of architectural history saved from the wrecking ball and the fusion of art and science that made it possible. Built in 1968, the Christ Cathedral Tower of Hope has been an important Southern California landmark for almost fifty years. Designed by celebrated architect Richard Neutra, one of the titans of the mid-century modernist movement, the 13-story cast-in-place concrete tower has been called “an overlooked masterwork in Neutra’s oeuvre” by architectural historian Barbara Lamprecht. Once the tallest building in Orange County, the structure is notable for its small but daylight-rich floor plates and vertigo-inducing cantilevered, post-tensioned exterior concrete stairs. The primary structural frame of the tower consists of concrete slabs and beams, supported by rectangular and trapezoidal board-formed concrete columns.

View Original Article