Planning to give Los Angeles a new Catholic cathedral, Cardinal Roger Mahoney asked Robert Venturi, Frank Gehry, Tom Mayne, Santiago Calatrava, and Rafael Moneo to present ideas for a garden/sanctuary in memory of Friar Junípero Serra, close to the city’s main railway station. A committee chose the design of Rafael Moneo, and he began work in summer 1996. His proposal very much took into account the complexity of the program, which posed an urban challenge whose solution strongly influenced the project’s development, with the cathedral placed on the highest parts of the site, overlooking Grand Avenue (en-Google-Maps-pone-Avenue,-no-Street). The east orientation of churches’ apses and the cruciform tradition of a cathedral’s floor plan made the architect invert terms: entrance from the side of the altar, chapels opening not into the nave but to an outer ambulatory. This layout was quite a typological novelty. Built with colored reinforced concrete, the cathedral does incorporate features typically associated with religious architecture. Visitors can spot elements reminiscent of architectures of olden times. The cathedral and the complex surrounding it are a public space, like missions of old, and have become a reference for L.A.’s Catholic community, mostly immigrants to whom a whole series of populist ‘works of art’ has been dedicated, the cathedral, alas, not being the best example of harmony between contemporary art and the Church.