It’s easy to get caught up in the frantic and busy environment of a metropolis and once in a while, we want a space for solitude and prayer, somewhere to pause from life’s daily grind even for just a quick moment.
This is the idea that prompted Filinvest Alabang Inc. to tap the award-winning Japanese architectural firm Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP Architects to design the Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel that welcomes anyone seeking a much-needed meditation and prayer within the busy city.
The chapel stands out amidst the sharp geometric shapes of nearby office and commercial buildings. It has a distinctive design inspired by an inverted white Lily—the flower that perfectly represents the purity of Mother Mary. The towering structure, with its graceful curves that seem to open up to the skies, definitely exudes a serene and comforting atmosphere.
Located at the River Park in Filinvest City, the project’s lead architect and co-representative of NAP International Kohei Omori noted, “It would be great if people can make visiting the Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel a part of their daily life. The chapel is here to welcome them.”
“We made the connection between the kindness and gentleness of Mother Mary to the Lily. Through this concept, we envisioned an architecture that gently embraces people, and when the sunlight reflects on the chapel, the purity of the white Lily is emphasized,” he explained.
The chapel being built on a hill further adds to its welcoming nature. Omori added, “It’s quite visible from afar. There are two streets that surround the site and a walking path and bridge. Instead of closing it off to the surrounding areas, we wanted it to be very open to the public so people feel that they can always come and visit the chapel.”
These special qualities are complemented by the chapel’s sustainable features that ensure visitors remain comfortable while doing their reflections. “The top portion of the chapel acts like a funnel. Heated air is essentially exhausted to the outside, which will then draw in a cool air inside with the help of the creek nearby.”
He also shared, “Acoustic was also a very important criterion that we had to overcome [to enrich the worship experience], and because this is a place to reflect, we wanted to allow people to feel the passing of time throughout the day, through the natural light reflecting inside the chapel.”
For Omori who believes that design is something that should affect people emotionally and spiritually, this collaborative work with Filinvest and different craftsmen from all over the world is solid proof of this belief: “Just seeing how people interact with the building and looking at how they spend their time inside the chapel made us realize that we did succeed in allowing this to be part of their daily life, which was one of our goals since beginning this project,” he concluded.
“The dream for Filinvest City has always been to build an environment that inspires and enables possibilities,” shares Francis Gotianun, Director of Filinvest Development Corporation. “Once everything was built and done, we wanted to finally welcome her [the Chapel] to Filinvest grounds so that the community may have another space where they can feel safe, protected, and at peace.”
The Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel is open daily from 6 am to 9 pm. Regular masses are scheduled once a day every Saturday at 5 pm and twice a day on Sunday at 10 am and 3:30 pm. Mass on a First Wednesday and First Friday may be celebrated upon the availability of the priest.
“We hope that through this chapel, people can see that, amidst the vibrant Filinvest City, there’s always a safe space where they can be still and silent. We are happy to have worked with the expert team of Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP Architect to design the Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel,” said Don Ubaldo, First Vice President for Project Development Townships, Filinvest Alabang Inc.
For more information and chapel inquiries, visit the official Facebook Page of Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel @LourdesChapel.Alabang.