March 23, 2014

Steel Neo-Gothic

San Sebastian Church "Negligence is the rust of the soul,
that corrodes through all her best resolves."
~Owen Feltham (1602–1668)

The Basilica Minore de San Sebastian, better known simply as San Sebastian Church, is believed to be the only pre-fabricated steel church in the world. Designed by the Spanish architect Genaro Palacios, it was built in 1891 using steel sections made in Belgium after earlier churches built on the site since 1611 by the Augustinian Recollects were destroyed by earthquakes in 1859, 1863 and 1880.

Though it may be earthquake and fireproof, the all-steel San Sebastian Church—which was designated a National Historical Landmark in 1973—suffers from another problem: rust. It is humid in Metro Manila no matter what the weather is and it rains almost half of the year. The City of Manila, where the church stands, is also very near the sea. After more than a hundred years in those conditions, the steel's integrity is threatened and the church is slowly undergoing restoration.

8 comments:

William Kendall said...

It is stunning.

Karl Demetz said...

What a beautiful and clean facade!

Barbara Farr said...

Sounds like it requires the same type of maintenance as the Golden Gate. Constant repainting and care.

Lowell said...

A fascinating post. The structure is very attractive and impressive. Who would think that steel, used to protect from the elements, would be threatened by the elements?

Love the quote, too!

Lois said...

It sure is pretty Hilda! I never would have guessed that it is a steel structure. I'm glad it is being restored!

Dina said...

I guess we can never outsmart Nature. Rust happens.

Zab Clement said...

This is why I'm saying that steel fabrication makes the world a better place. Thanks for sharing this information!

Zab Clement said...

This is why I'm saying that steel fabrication makes the world a better place. Thanks for sharing this information!