CHURCH-TENT
Mr Steve Paul Yong explains the church’s unique roof structure to a tour group.

If there’s something that will first catch the eye of the casual passers-by in Queenstown, it is often the church with the sharp roofs that looks like a tent.

The unique architecture of this church in Queenstown has attracted not only those who are seeking God but others who are curious to know more about the process that went into the design of the building.

Indeed the design is to symbolise the “Tent of Meeting” in the Old Testament (Exodus 33:7-11) where those who wanted to consult the Lord would gather. Moses, according to biblical records, pitched the tent outside the Israelite camp in the wilderness. There, Moses met with God.

And this interesting fact was shared with a group of 30 people who went on special two-hour tours on Nov 10, organised as part of an Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) programme.

Three parishioners – Mr Richard Lowe, together with Ms Jesselyn Koh and her husband Mr Steve Paul Yong – worked with the URA to highlight the church as part of the Singapore Architectural Heritage Season. This month-long programme by the URA was to celebrate Singapore’s built heritage and well-restored buildings.

Designed by Gordon Dowsett of Iversen, Van Sitteran and Partners, the most prominent feature of the church is its slate roof which is constructed in folds. Inside the church, there are colourful windows panes and the high timbered ceiling. The high ceiling was to provide ventilation in Singapore’s tropical climate.

The visitors were also invited to sit in the pews while explanations were given on the various parts of the church, such as the confession booth, communion rail, sanctuary, altar and tabernacle. They were also taken to the choir loft for a bird’s eye view of the church’s interior and to see how the church is laid out in the shape of a cross.

INTERIOR -BLESSED SACRAMENT CHURCH
Visitors learning about the various parts of the church’s interior.

To wrap up the tours, the visitors had a chat with Indonesian parish priest Fr Johan Wongso, from the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, the Religious congregation that runs the church. They also met with Dutch priest, Fr Anthony Hutjes, who impressed them with his Mandarin language skills.

One visitor, Mr Ben Goodger, 56, said he enjoyed the tour as it provided information about the unique history of the church. He added that his group was very pleased to be able to have a chat with the priests.

Blessed Sacrament Church, which looks like an origami artwork with its sloping roofs, was completed in 1965. It was accorded conservation status in 2005.

The church was built to cater to the needs of the residents of Queenstown, the first satellite town under the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT), the forerunner of the Housing Development Board.

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