I was in the Cathedral today to participate in a Mass at which the Notre Dame Liturgical Choir, including two of my kids, sang. What I noticed was that the new design is not as bad as I originally thought.
I am still quite critical of some aspects. The corona and crucifix really have to go. Even if they were artistically excellent, they just don't fit in a classic building. Besides, the prominence of the thorns causes in me an emotional reaction that is a distraction to the spirit of the Liturgy. I also sorely miss the Blessed Sacrament in the main part of the Church.
On the other hand, I can see why a Benedictine (Weakland) would like the design. It has the flavor of a Benedictine chapel, with the nave for the people, the altar, the choir, and the ambo. The furnishings are actually quite handsome, to me at least, especially the cathedra and the presider's seat, although they look awfully uncomfortable! I always like the baptistry at the entrance.
Besides the corona, I would probably make one change: Since it would be very difficult to move the choir back to the choir loft, so the Blessed Sacrament could be where it used to be, I would move the Blessed Sacrament to where the current presider's chair is (on the opposite side of the altar as the cathedra) and put a regular crucifix above it. Then I would put the presider's chair next to the cathedra, but a step lower. Right now it is the same height as the cathedra. That way, since the altar is a perfect square, the celebrant could face the Blessed Sacrament and the crucifix while offering the Sacrifice.
Fr. Last, are you reading this? I thought not.