Restoration of Cemetery Chapel in the Philippines by Escuela Taller

In Catholic culture funerary and cemetery chapels are busy places.  Here the rites of final commendation and burials take place as well as Requiem Masses on certain anniversaries, most especially on All Souls Day.  It is common for every Catholic cemetery to have at least a main chapel, with many smaller family chapels, most strongly evidenced in Catholic countries around the world.  

The above photo is a before and after restoration of the La Loma Cemetery Chapel that was the work of the Escuela Taller de Filipinas Foundation, Inc. -- an institution responsible for much important conservation work.  This wonderful foundation is a local conservation trade school that trains indigent youth in conservation of heritage structures in the Philippines, using traditional materials and methods of construction, especially those used during the Spanish colonial period when most of the heritage churches in the Philippines were built.    

The project was spearheaded by the Diocese of Kalookan and was overseen by the architect Foom Cobilla of Escuela Taller who studied at the College of Architecture at the University of the Philippines.  

The work of restoration included the removal of invasive biological growth, cleaning and repointing of the masonry, restoration of the relief decorations, and plastering of the exterior masonry for preservation and aesthetic purposes.  Plasterwork colors were based on archival research and chemical tests done by the restoration team in order to determine the original colors of the exterior.  

Since the restoration, the chapel shines once again as a visible sign of the Resurrection.  The fresh new look will help to preserve the building for present and future generations, allowing all who visit to be inspired by its beauty and to marvel at its symbolism, defined by its verticality pointing upwards to hope in eternal life.  

Congratulations to the architect and all who worked on this project in a country historically centered around beautiful old churches where there is great need for heritage conservation and urgent upkeep to help preserve these national treasures that have been inspired by the ancient canons of beauty and composition.  

During recent decades after a long process of change and revolt against traditional canons of architecture and traditional liturgical arts, a void is still felt in some places for competent architects and firms to design and restore.  This has proven a challenge after the recent prolonged tendency of modern liturgical architecture to abandon the classical principles that have governed its development since the early centuries of Christianity.  

Even though the traditional order of architecture and the foundations of its various arts have been unduly undermined by criticism and doubt, we are still seeing today a new renaissance everywhere, including in the Philippines.  Thank you, friends, and keep up the fine work!

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