This isn’t a Church in Europe

Colloquially known as Novena Church (after a series of intercessory devotions to Mother Mary), Church of St. Alphonsus is one of Singapore’s most iconic Catholic churches thanks to its rare gothic architecture, a rarity in the modern city state.

Apr 19, 2018 | By LUXUO

Church of St. Alphonsus, colloquially known as Novena Church (after a series of intercessory devotions to Mother Mary), is one of Singapore’s most iconic Catholic churches, rises as a striking Gothic-inspired sanctuary after being closed for an extensive overhaul. Featuring soaring arches, intricate columns, a dome and 24 large stained glass windows, it will transport you to Europe in its beauty.

Two angels holding candelabras; the new church can now accommodate 1,500 worshipers in air-conditioned comfort.

With a 67-year history, the Novena Church closed for an extensive $54-million revamp since 3 years ago to provide a more conducive and accommodative environment for worshippers.

Reopened in late 2017, the building is inspired by European Gothic architecture, with a gleaming new exterior is clad in granite. The facade features soaring arches, intricate columns, a dome and 24 large stained glass windows.

A set of the Stations of the Cross hand-carved from plaster and cast in fibreglass. The set of 14 stations was made in Cebu, Philippines and took one and a half years to complete.

Besides beautiful limestone designs, the church interior is now air conditioned with a special antiviral and antibacterial scent that features the essential oils of frankincense, rosemary, lavender and citrus.

A three-storey building housing a 200-seater auditorium and multipurpose hall has also been constructed to replace the previous termite-infested building.

Majestic panels of stained glass at the East End of the church feature full portraits of Our Lady of Ransom (left), St Joseph (right), and Jesus, the Most Holy Redeemer in the centre.

The design team behind the revamp described the building to be “reminiscent of European churches”, its original, conserved form back in the 1950s designed by the architectural firm Swan and Maclaren. This design is rare for modern Catholic churches in SIngapore that favour more practical styles due to land constraints.

Mr Melvin Gamayot of CGN Architects said that the project was pressurising: “I usually design condominiums and commercial projects such as hotels, so I had a lot of sleepless nights coming up with a design and communicating this to contractors.”

A look at the traditional curved ceilings inspired by King Solomon.

He shares his source of inspiration from the bible scripture of king Solomon’s temple carved with engravings of palm trees. “I clad the columns of the main sanctuary hall in curved segments of limestone to create the appearance of a cluster of thin palm tree trunks with ribs, reaching for the heaven.”

An exterior view of the old (left) and new prayer halls of the Novena Church, vastly different in size.

More popularly known as the Novena Church, the Church of St. Alphonsus is located on 300 Thompson Road. 

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