Christ Cathedral Tower of Hope

Garden Grove, California

An architectural icon bolstered by 21st century technology

LPA’s integrated team developed a seismic retrofit for the Richard Neutra-designed Tower of Hope. This preserves the building’s iconic character and maintains views to the outside, a visual connection considered essential by both Neutra and Christ Cathedral founder Reverend Robert Schuller.

The 13-story, 26,000-square-foot tower, a local landmark built in 1968, required major structural upgrades. A traditional seismic retrofit would have added concrete shear walls or steel-braced frames from the ground floor to the roof—rising a full 160 feet—plus a new drilled caisson foundation system below the building. This approach would have restricted views to the outside, reduced usable floor area and been very costly to construct.

LPA’s seismic engineering team approached this unique challenge by using an innovative, performance-based strategy. Fluid viscous dampers, which are large custom-designed shock absorbers, were installed on four of the 13 floors. By limiting dampers to the second through fifth floors, the team preserved views from the main lobby to an adjacent fountain garden, as well as panoramic views from the signature Chapel in the Sky. This design solution also maximizes functional floor space and saved almost $2 million over a traditional seismic approach.

The renovation project complements Neutra’s Arboretum on the Christ Cathedral campus, also restored by LPA.

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