ST JOSEPH'S CHURCH,
The present St. Joseph's Church building dates from 1912 and was gazetted as a National Monument of Singapore in 2005. By 2017, the church was in dire need of thorough restoration and ONG&ONG was appointed to manage the mammoth project - which saw experts from as far afield as Europe flown in and consulted on the conservation of important features and artifacts.
Constructed atop marine clay, settlement over the decades meant that the building's structure had shifted. Its roof trusses were found to be inclining and had to be set straight, restored or replaced. The sagging cantilevered choir loft was replaced with one that is under-girded by a steel frame. The ground slab had to be reconstructed, realigned, and a waterproofing membrane was installed to stabilise and secure it. After crucial structural works were carried out to secure the building and its walls were re-plastered, re-barred. The church's unique statuary and its many remarkable stained glass windows required thorough cleaning and refinishing.
The original teak ambo and worshipers' pews were all sanded down and re-stained, while the encaustic floor tiles were removed, cleaned, and reinstalled. Dormer windows too were reintroduced. In addition, subtle landscaping enhances the building's external ornamentation of nature in the decorative relief work and carvings found in the building. There are niches within the landscape for contemplation and prayer; at a reflective pool by the church entrance, as well as benches facing the existing grotto, under the shade of willowy trees. All in, the restoration of St. Joseph's Church took five years, and the end result was well worth the wait.