The Cathedral of Christ the King has the traditional plan form of a Latin Cross, a form eminently suited to its site which is long and narrow. The building is 267′ 0″ long and 96′ 0″ wide across the transepts with a ceiling height of 65′ 0″. The main entrance, which is in Saratoga Avenue, is approached by canopied steps through a porch with open grille walls. The facade at this point is 81′ 0″ above pavement level.
The system of construction is a portal type reinforced concrete frame on piled foundations with reinforced concrete purlins and roof slabs. All structural members are exposed and have red granite finish. This was achieved by using a special red granite aggregate for the exposed surfaces and by bush hammering the concrete when wooden shuttering was removed. This gives the warm red-brown natural and permanent finish to all exposed surfaces. The walls are in brickwork up to the clerestory level (19′ l0″ above the floor). Above that level the walls become a tracery of concrete with an infilling of antique French and English coloured and multi-toned glass. The glass and concrete walls have been achieved by a system of precast members fixed between the main portal frames which occur at 12′ 0″ centres. The precast members form a series of squares of 4′ 6″ side, and rectangles 2′ 3″X4′ 6″ which are infilled with concrete slabs pierced with openings to give regular patterning for the glass. An alternative patterning was used on the main south facade and for the end walls of the transepts. All this infilling precast concrete work was again faced with natural stone and the aggregate of fine stone exposed by wire brushing and the thousands of individual glass pieces were finished within a perimeter band of lead and then fixed into rebates in the concrete slabs.
Stained glass proper was limited to the Sanctuary where there are eight panels 9′ 6″ X 4′ 6″ and to single 4′ 6″ X 4′ 6″ panels, on the clerestory, one to each bay or twenty-four in all. The theme of each of the picture windows was suggested by His Lordship, Bishop Boyle and the glass colour scheme and all the stained glass work was carried out by Mr. Patrick Pollen, the Dublin Stained Glass Artist.
The subject matter of the stained glass windows is as follows: On the Gospel side-Christ Meets his Mother; Flight into Egypt; The Nativity; The Immaculate Conception. On the Epistle side-Christ the King; feed my Sheep; Pentecost; The Assumption. Above these at clerestory level are depicted symbols of: Cross and Nails; Virgo Potens; The Lamb of God; Rose Mystica; Chi-Ro and Crown; Fold of Sheep; The Holy Ghost; Vas Honoris. The remaining stained glass windows, in the Nave, are composed of symbols at high level depicting as follows on the Gospel side-The Angel-St. Matthew; The Lion-St. Mark; Chi-Ro in circle of Eternity; Wheat-The Bread; Anchor – The Anchor of Faith; The Pelican-Christ’s Church; The Trinity; Fish and net-The net of Souls: and on the Epistle side-The Bull-St. Luke; The Eagle – St. John; The Fish-1X0VS; Grapes-The Wine ; Ship- The ship of the Church; The Chalice and Host; Alpha Omega; The Keys of St. Peter. (Note: In the Nave symbols bear relation to their opposite numbers in general, in the Sanctuary to their accompanying window below).
The Cathedral is composed of the following plan units:-
- Entrance Porch. Entrance porch or lobby forming the atrium or approach to the main entrance.
- Narthex. Unlike the porch the Narthex runs to the full height of the Cathedral and contains the main stairs to the gallery which seats 130 people. This gallery has been reinforced to carry the new organ with its swell chamber, etc. The main pipes are seen to silhouette against the glass and tracery of the south window. The Narthex is flanked by two lobbies which will have a special purpose when full congregation is coming out of the Cathedral, as on Sundays and Holidays.
- Main Nave. The main Nave has a ceiling height at the apex of 65′ 0″ and a width of 45′ 0″ at clerestorey level. It has spacious centre and side aisles and eight double Confessionals. Opening off these side aisles are the Baptistery 14′ 0″ X 24′ 0″ on the Gospel side of the Nave, and a Mortuary Chapel 26′ 0″ X 24′ 0″ on the Gospel side. The Baptistery is lighted by a dome lantern; -and the Mortuary by a system of glass and concrete panelling similar to that used in the clerestorey, but more elaborately detailed.
- Crossing and Transepts. Here the system of construction becomes most interesting and is reflected in the gridwork of concrete members where the two main portions of roof intersect directly in front of the High Altar. This point is marked by the tall fleche, copper covered as is the main roof.
- Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is about 2,200 sq. ft. and is the setting for the High Altar. The Altar in Botticino marble is a simple mensa on the raised predella and canopied over by a baldachino in the form of a hyperbolic paraboloid dome in hardwood carried on four slender, tapered, wooden columns. The Altar and Communion Rails are in Italian marbles. The Sanctuary also contains the Cathedra or Bishop’s Chair with canopy in black painted iron work and hardwood and sedilia for officiating priests.
- The Side Chapels. The Side Chapels on the Gospel and Epistle side of the Sanctuary are:
- The Blessed Sacrament Chapel on the Gospel side of the main Sanctuary
- The Blessed Virgin Chapel on the Epistle side.
Both these Chapels are roof lighted and finished in hardwood strip ceilings and have simple type Altars each on a raised predella. The Chapels have end walls of unpolished marble briquettes.
- Sacristies etc. Immediately behind the Sanctuary with two entrances to give direct access to the Cathedral grounds and the new Presbytery, are the Sacristies. The main or priests’ Sacristy is 29′ 0′ X 24′ 0″ with Vestment Presses, presses for Altar linen etc. Opening directly off the Priests’ Sacristy is a single Confessional for special use. The Boys’ Sacristy is a spacious 300 sq. ft. with a Work Sacristy adjacent for the Sacristan and to cater to the needs of those whose work it is to dress the Altars.
- It will be used also to store candles, flower vases, etc. En suite with the Sacristy block is a large Meeting room 36’X24′ which can seat over 100 persons.
- Entrances. As before mentioned the Main entrance is from Saratoga Avenue but a subsidiary porch and entrance from End Street has a long gently sloping ramp for invalids in chairs so that they can be wheeled directly into the Cathedral. Another exit provides a direct outlet from the Epistle side of the Church to ensure speedy and efficient movement of congregation from the Church.
An attempt has been made in the design and structure of the Cathedral to provide, within the budget laid down, a building on a dignified scale as befits the important centre and large congregation which it serves. The structure has been treated simply and in such a way that throughout the coming years there shall be a minimum of maintenance necessary. Though marbles from Italy have been used these have been limited to the Sanctuary, Altars and aisles, but the general decorative effect has been achieved with untreated natural materials such as the glass and granite faced concrete, the brick of the walls and the natural wood finishes of the seats and ceilings.