Cobonpue chapel design shortlisted in World Architecture Festival

A CHAPEL designed by award-winning Cebuano designer, Kenneth Cobonpue, was shortlisted in the world’s largest global architectural award in Amsterdam.

Cor Jesu Oratory, a chapel in Cobonpue’s alma mater, the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu, was shortlisted by the World Architecture Festival 2019 for its design in religious architecture.

The announcement of winners will be made during the world’s largest festival dedicated to celebrating and sharing architectural excellence slated for December 4-6, 2019.

Cobonpue told SunStar Cebu the global recognition will be a boost to the local architecture scene since the structure represented the Philippines through Cebu.

“I believe it’s the first building in Cebu to be shortlisted for that award and it’s an honor for our city and the design community. It makes us all aware that good design matters and we should try to show the beauty of our culture and environment in everything we build,” he said.

It was chosen with six other religious structures around the world in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emiratedes, Singapore, Suratthani, Thailand and Murcia, Spain.

“Made of bamboo, concrete and steel, the abstract heart-shaped structures surround an inner garden that is full of symbolism and poetry,” Cobonpue said in an Instagram post.

The lead architects were Buck Richnold Sia and Zubu Design Associates.

Cobonpue said he was asked by the Jesuit priests from Sacred Heart School and business magnate Edmun Liu to design the chapel and recollection center across the school.

“I got Architect Sia to do the technical plan while the concept was mine. And then we went through several designs until we reached the final one which is inspired by the shape of a heart because Cor Jesu means Heart of Jesus,” he said.

The chapel, which was completed in December 2018, only took one year to plan and build. It embodies what the school’s values are, especially with its religious representation.

“It’s an abstract heart, usually drawn by children. One bigger heart and one smaller one which symbolizes also the relationship between the teacher and the student. Father and son,” he said.

The 5,500-square meter property stands in front of the school on H. Abellana Street, Canduman, Mandaue City.

One unique and often overlooked material that Cobonpue used was the bamboo composition of the chapel which is placed from the ceiling to the passageways.

He said bamboo grows fast, is a tropical material and contributes to the sustainability of the project.

“You don’t see much, although bamboo is just around. You don’t see much bamboo architecture. There’s almost none in the country. This is something that I want to use also because it has good insulation, good soundproof quality and it’s native and natural,” he said.

He said the bamboo incorporates every element that are vital to the chapel, including passive cooling for its passageways, insulation from the heat above and its capacity to enhance the acoustic properties during religious activities.

With the trend in the industry as it gears towards sustainable materials and practices, Cobonpue said it is crucial for designers and architects to take nature into consideration.


SunStar website welcomes friendly debate, but comments posted on this site do not necessarily reflect the views of the SunStar management and its affiliates. SunStar reserves the right to delete, reproduce or modify comments posted here without notice. Posts that are inappropriate will automatically be deleted.

Forum rules:

Do not use obscenity. Some words have been banned. Stick to the topic. Do not veer away from the discussion. Be coherent. Do not shout or use CAPITAL LETTERS!