After six years of construction, the French firm Architecture-Studio has completed a $10 million expansion of Créteil Cathedral, located a few miles southwest of Paris. The structure, originally built in 1976 by Charles-Gustave Stoskopf, has doubled in size and received a new look—most notably two half spheres that rise above the church and join (symbolizing hands held in prayer) to form a soaring domed roof.
The domed addition was meant to bring in natural light.
The addition, which rises 65 feet above the church’s altar, features Douglas fir beams interspersed with windows by noted glass artists Udo Zembok and Pascale Zembok. The interior layout has also been refreshed. Seating was added—Créteil can now hold up to 1,000 people—with benches placed in a semicircle around the altar instead of in straight rows.
The idea for the renovation was meant for a sense of harmony in materials, a nod to ancient cathedrals, where stone vessels were cut and chiseled for light to enter the sacred space. “This allows a straightforward feeling of unity and simplicity,” the firm said in a statement.