Archbishop's Chapel, Arzobispado, Intramuros, Manila

Chancery, Arzobispado de Manila, 121 Arzobispo Street, Intramuros, Manila
Completed 2003

Architectural Design Statement
January 7, 2003

We started with history, that very palpable reality - the gust of ages - that connects the energy of the present church with the stillness of the church's past. The Chapel resides in the path of that gust that sweeps between the Courtyard of the Arzobispado and the ruin of the Jesuit Church of San Ignacio.

The ruin of San Ignacio reminds us that the recent history of Intramuros is about sorrow and loss. For many of us, a visit to Intramuros, no matter for what purpose, leaves us with a sharp sadness. First, there is the memory of those who died there in World War Two, and the manner in which they died. Second, the war and its aftermath eradicated the majesty of one of the centers of Christianity, and left us with niggardly traces, ruins that we today tend to ignore.

Many of us find the loss difficult to bear and therefore choose either to ignore it, or to treat it recklessly. The Chapel of the Arzobispado can not turn its back on that loss, and should not even be numb to it.