St. Mary's Cathedral in Manila

This is a St. Mary’s cathedral located in the outskirts of Manila, Philippines. Having a floor area of approximately 800m², it can hold 400 people during Mass. The 4,000m² site is on a hill in a park, with a creek quietly flowing nearby. We felt the cathedral should embrace people with St. Mary’s gentle and warm compassion just as she embraced Jesus Christ after his crucifixion on the hill of Golgotha. One would cross the creek and climb a hill experiencing vicariously the “Way of Suffering” (Via Dolorosa) walked by Jesus. At the top rises the cross before which people pray. As to gently envelop the visitors, we placed a great roof reminiscent of a white lily—a symbol of St. Mary, and let in sacred light through stained glass windows established among the lily’s six petals. The structure is a steel structure consisting of six petals, which perform as a shell structure, and keel trusses utilizing the gaps between them. The petals’ shell effect enables 4m cantilever at maximum and shield the interior from strong direct sunlight. The petals also serve as a reflector that diffuses soft light reflected from the surrounding greenery and creek throughout the interior. By drawing in the cool air from the creek through the openings under the deep eaves and opening the skylight at the top, natural ventilation caused by the chimney effect becomes the main means of air conditioning during the day.

Principal use
Total floor area
Building site
Manila, Philippines
RC + S
Structure design