Santo Nino Church Renovation

Tacloban City, Leyte


Updated YouTube video of walk-through


Existing condition

 Option 1

Option 2

In the silence is God.
In the Child is God.
In the Eucharist is God.

The renovation of Santo Nino Church has at least three goals: 
-  to reinforce the image of the Santo Nino as the focus of the worship space; 
-  to underscore the relationship between the image of the Santo Nino, which represents the child Jesus, and the Eucharist, which is Jesus; 
-  to harness this relationship in order to contemplate the impact of the will of God on our lives.

These three goals coincide in physical expression in the form of the circle: 
-  the circle that frames the Santo Nino; 
-  the circle that frames the Eucharist in the monstrance; 
-  the circle in the eye of the storm.

The circle of the existing retablo, or altarpiece, thus becomes the center of the radius of the nave’s new vaulted ceiling, and the source of the half-circular arched openings and canopies that animate both interior and exterior.  The new circular stained glass windows would be of the same diameter as the existing retablo circle.

The parish turns 125 years old in 2014, but the church structure itself no longer carries a trace of that vintage.  Renovations and expansions, mostly from the last two or three decades, now need to be harmonized and unified to create a new authenticity and integrity, aside from bringing the entire complex to a better state of preparedness for future calamity.

With the exception of the highly ornate retablo, the architectural expression of the church interior will now be guided by a desire to be, like a child, simple, but not simplistic.  Textural complexity becomes not overt but understated, and thus more intense, guiding our gaze to the image of the Santo Nino.

The existing retablo from the 1980s is Gothic-inspired and tripartite, the middle panel containing the central circle that frames the image of the Santo Nino, and the minor panel on either side containing a painting of a large angel.  

In Option 1, shown in the attached YouTube link below, this existing retablo is retained, with the exception of the angels being replaced by textured gold-leaf panels that direct one's attention to the central circle. 

In Option 2, shown in the next YouTube link below, the circular frame of the Santo Nino image is surrounded by a new proposed retablo that brings to mind the monstrance or ostensorium, underscoring a conceptual link between the Eucharist and what the image of the Santo Nino represents.  The new retablo also suggests the eye of the storm, the still and silent center of an immense unspeakable power.  This power brought to this place an unspeakable devastation, but it also brought to this place an immense outpouring of sacrifice, heroism, generosity and love.

The renovation therefore becomes an expression of this exceptional moment when the power of destruction generated the power of love.


 Option 1 Renovation Retains 1980s Retablo

Option 2 Renovation Provides New Retablo